Album review: Rachid Taha, Zoom (Wrasse)


The future of the Middle East probably lies with the likes of Rachid Taha.

A brilliant performer whose comic-heroic stage presence is as much Chaplin as Marley or Strummer, the French-Algerian star's “rock'n'rai” style offers a better bridge between cultures than any military option.

Produced by Justin Adams, Zoom presents Taha in all his generous, inclusive diversity: “Les Artistes” and “Zoom sur Oum” are infectious desert-boogie grooves re-routing John Lee Hooker and Bo Diddley through North Africa, “Ana” lopes like a Johnny Cash country ode, punctuated by vivid bursts of oud. “Galbi” recalls the South-western style of Calexico, while “Fakir” is a compelling Cajun-Arab crossover of rocking squeezebox and swirling guitar.

Download: Fakir; Les Artistes; Algerian Tango; Ana; Now Or Never