So sorry to hear that Rachid Taha died today. He was a brilliant performer, a great mind, and a kind soul.
Here’s the transcript of a telephone interview I did with him back in 2013. The interview was actually conducted in French. His publicist had told me that he spoke English, but this turned out not to be so when I called him. No matter. I translated my questions on the spot and encouraged him to talk as much as possible.
I went to his show at the Olympia here in Montreal and there met Josée, a friend of Rachid’s mandolute player, Hakim Hamadouche. Josée was an avid guitar player herself as well as a restorer of electric guitars.
The audience ran the gamut from traditional Muslim families to barefoot girls in shorts swinging their hips like they wanted to clear the floor. Most of these girls ended up on the stage toward the end and at times bouncers had to intervene.
Yes, of course, the music was amazing, the zenith of a network of crossroads where dark men wait to teach the chosen ones how to channel sound from beyond this vale of tears.