France-based Algerian singer Rachid Taha dies at 59

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Singer Rachid Taha, giant of 1980s French rock, whose group Carte de Séjour remade the Charles Trénet classic “Douce France”, died aged 59 of a heart attack on Tuesday night, said his family.

Taha was a magnetic and popular figure on France’s rock scene ever since his 1981 debut as the charismatic leader ofCarte de Séjour. Born in Algeria, he moved to France aged 10. He and his group became the flagbearers of the second generation of the Franco-Algerian and Franco-Moroccan community in France.

He grew up with punk and rock, and was loyal to the genre while infusing it with Maghrebi music, as he did with his2004 remake of The Clash’s “Rock the Casbah”.

RACHID TAHA’S ‘YA RAYAH’

He 1998 popular album “Diwân” featured Algerian chaâbi songs, including smash hit “Ya Rayah” (You, the one leaving), which reached number 11 on the French singles charts.

Taha was preparing to release a new album with the label Believe.

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