Algeria’s indigenous pop music, rai, which gained international attention in the 1980s, was, like many popular music forms, the result of city slickers adapting music from the sticks for their own purposes and enjoyment. Originally ribald, rai became pointedly political after young people in the ’60s and ’70s used it to express their anger and desires.

Rachid Taha was born in the seaport city of Oran, the birthplace of rai, in 1958, at the height of the independence struggle. He moved to France with his parents when he was 10 and left home at 18, working the menial jobs reserved for immigrants until landing a gig as the lead vocalist in the Arab-language rock group Carte de Sejour (loose translation: Green Card) in 1982.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.