Fans of Rachid Taha? This blog is YOUR multilingual community crossroad to share pictures, concerts reviews, news, interviews, links, articles! Fans de Rachid Taha? Ce blog est VOTRE carrefour communautaire plurilingue où partager photos, reportages sur ses concerts, infos, interviews, liens, articles! Esto blog es VUESTRA comunidad multilingue donde reunir fotos, reportajes de sus conciertos, noticias, entrevistas, links, articulos! THE TAHAFANBLOG WITH YOU FROM 2004!!!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Taha and Khaled The South Blank Show: review

A documentary on Raï, Khaled and Rachid Taha was broadcasted on ITV1 (UK) on the 13th of March and Yvonne has written a review of it. Here it is (thanks!):
Un documentaire sur le raï, Khaled et Rachid Taha est passé sur ITV1 (UK) et Yvonne en a fait un compte-rendu que voici (merci!):

Rachid Taha and Khaled
The South Bank Show ~ ITV1 ~ Sunday 13th March 2005
Directed and produced by Gerald Fox

Sorry this is delayed ~ I’ve had to watch the film several times to make sure ~ purely for research of course! Just to put everyone in the picture, The South Bank Show is THE leading Arts programme on British TV so this documentary film from Gerald Fox is a real accolade, a sign you’re on the way.

The Radio Times (a UK TV and radio listings magazine) says: ‘Tracing the evolution of rai music through two of its leading exponents ~ Khaled and Rachid Taha. A sound originating From Algeria, rai has become a popular form of world music, paricularily in France, and has been influential in providing North African Arabic speaking people with a voice in a post 9/11 world’~ a bit of a simplistic summing up!

The film gives an equal voice to Rachid and Khaled but for our purposes I’ll concentrate mainly on Rachid! The film was made at February of 2005, prior to Rachid’s current tours.

Starting with the exhuberent and OTT 123 Soliels concert (with Faudel in the background), the film first takes Khaled back to his family home and school in Oran, meeting teachers, aunts, uncles, cousins and fans. There is also a serendipidous meeting with Houari Blaoui, the Algerian composer and musician. Khaled is animated, good humoured and avuncular throughout, with a permanent grin on his face. There are clips from concerts with him singing his most popular athems ~ Didi, Aicha etc.

Rai means opinion (we don’t need to be told that do we!) and is described throughout as protest music, shepherds’ music sung in peasant bars. Rachid sees it with a broader vision invoking the blues, jazz, the Twist (an energetic dance craze of the early 60s for our younger readers!), Chubby Checker, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry. He talks about the directness of his lyrics as a response to ‘the winter cold’, ‘a cry for help’, ‘looking for warmth’ ~ straight to the point and eloquent about his philosophy and raison d’etre; expressing his implicit, serious and uncompromising belief in his writing. Everything he says throughout the interview is infinitely quotable (but I can’t quote it all!).

He is filmed muffled up and mooching around Barbes in Paris, in the steets, markets and the bars. In the streets he seems to be unrecognised, but is warmly greeted in the bars and names a new cocktail ~ ‘Easy Rai Beurre ’*. The dangers of the night appeal to him and he presents himself as a feral creature, ‘a cat, a vampire’.

Grunting and growling as only he can, he jams with his tour band, squeezed into the attic of his apartment (Noel, however, is missing) and performs Voila Voila as extraordinary blues sound, easily comparable to the best blues voices of black Americans ~ different again from recorded and stage versions. As well as this we get rough and ready renditions of Barbes, H’asbu’Hum, Rock el Casbah and Ya Rayah.

The gimlet eyes and now familiar bum (!) in the face are turned on the camera (North American friends please note, bum means fanny ~ not a tramp! Although later he does describe himself as a tramp). We get costume changes from time to time ~ long red leather 1950s teddy-boy style jacket to sequined shirt and of course a parade of hats and leather trousers.

His appartment, of which we see only the attic, is unpretentious and decorated with artifacts including masks, woven hangings, an enormous dark portrait of him. In a clip from the Kienes?DVD of the Mexican tour he bounces around the stage at an exhilerating and windy outdoor concert. In the cheeky Douce France video of 1986 we see a very young Rachid Taha, as ironic in his smart be-suited image as Carte de Sejour’s version of the 1947 Charles Trenet song, which he describes as comparable to the Sex pistols singing ‘God Save The Queen’, a slap in the face for the slavishly patriotic and parochial. He answers the question about his allegiances ~ ‘Algerian to the end of my days, French day to day’.

Collaborators, musicians and critics are interviewed.

Steve Hillage ~ Rachid’s long term and visionary producer extraordinaire, composer and musician.
Brian Eno ~ seminal musician and producer and who appears on Tekitoi? as a Casbah boy and gives the Kaos drums performance in Dima.
Charlie Gillett ~ BBC London and BBC World Service DJ and champion of the moveable feast of ‘World Music’.Robin Deneslow ~ Music critic and broadcaster and journalist, BBC Newsnight correspondent.
All speak of him and his music with warmth and tremendous enthusiasm, admiring his ‘energy and confidence ~ that music can change the world’, echoing the now long lost philosphy of western music of the 1960s.

Rachid’s final comment is priceless ~ ‘you know what they do with artists when they stop being rebels, they give the the Legion d’Honneur!”

*nice jeu de mot (game with words) in the Taha-way between Easy Rider/easy rai beur and easy rai beurre (butter)

Yvonne Mitton

The show is now on You Tube!!!!!!!

1 comment:

michael said...

Excellent review Yvonne and it really makes me annoyed that I missed it.