The 5-minute interview: Rachid Taha, Singer

'The way political structures are built doesn't allow for honesty'


Rachid Taha, 50, is a French-Algerian singer. He has performed with the likes of Robert Plant and Brian Eno and produced a hit Arabic version of The Clash's "Rock The Casbah". A great admirer of the Clash's late frontman, Taha was presented with a BBC Award for World Music by Joe Strummer's wife Luce on Thursday. He will be playing the Jazz Café in London on 14-15 April.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be ...

Making love. You interrupted me!

A phrase I use far too often ...

Is "listen", I've got a great idea and then I bend people's ear for ages.

I wish people would take more notice of...

Their neighbours and take more interest in what's going on in the world and not be afraid to speak out against injustice

The most surprising thing that happened to me ...

Was finding love

A common misperception of me is ...

That I'm very small. Or maybe it's me that thinks that I'm actually bigger than I am.

I am not a politician but ...

I am an honest man. The way all political structures are built doesn't allow for honesty. All any politician can spout is the party line, which may or may not apply to what's actually going on and generally doesn't. I'd like to see more transparency in politics but don't hold out much hope.

I'm good at ...

Making love. Honestly.

I'm very bad at ...

Being diplomatic

The ideal night out is ...

Under a blue, star-studded sky with my beautiful woman at my side and surrounded by my good friends, moving from one watering hole to another in Paris until the sun comes up and beyond.

In moments of weakness ...

I give all my friends a hard time

You know me as a singer but in another life I'd have been ...

A journalist; probably a war correspondent, informing people of the atrocities that are taking place around the world in the name of freedom.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this ...

I'm an Afro-liberal.

Andrew Black

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