Made in Medina

Made in Medina

by Rachid Taha
     
 
Rai music's top provocateur remains at the height of his powers on the follow-up to his international hit Diwan, riding a desert storm of North African percussion, raucous guitar, hard techno, and more on Made in Medina. Truth be told, Taha's allegiances have always been more with French underground rock and experimental music with

Overview

Rai music's top provocateur remains at the height of his powers on the follow-up to his international hit Diwan, riding a desert storm of North African percussion, raucous guitar, hard techno, and more on Made in Medina. Truth be told, Taha's allegiances have always been more with French underground rock and experimental music with than the homesick crooning of Algerian pop -- he led the confrontational punkers Carte de Sejour ("Green Card") in the '80s -- but over the last few years, he's embraced rai as an even more radical challenge to the establishment, and has appeared in concert with rai stars Khaled and Faudel. Recording in London, Paris, and New Orleans, Taha and longtime co-conspirator Steve Hillage concoct another subversive set that honors North African traditional music and poetry while viciously attacking prejudices against immigrants, grimly painting the chaos of urban sprawl, and lamenting the decline of civility in general. Made in Medina isn't the velvet glove that its predecessor was -- the growling guitar opening "Barra Barra" makes that clear, and the deeply funky New Orleans rhythm section anchors Taha's barking with a weighty suppleness that recalls the Rollins Band on vacation in Marrakech. But the same rhythmic urgency, coupled with Arabic chorus, swelling Cairo string stylings, and jangling Berber percussion, makes Taha's broadsides deeply seductive, a perfect post-apocalyptic Arabian Night's entertainment.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jo-Ann Greene
Rachid Taha is not the first artist to blend Arab and Western musical styles, but he is certainly one of the most innovative. Born in Algeria, but residing in France since age ten, Taha fronted a highly political punk band in his teens, then made his mark as an equally radical DJ before launching a solo career. Made in Medina is the latest in his string of crossover creations. Recorded on three continents and four countries (U.S., U.K., France, and Morocco), utilizing musicians from equally far flung locales, and overseen by long-time producer Steve Hillage, the album is brimming with the exotic and the familiar. With lyrics in English, French, and, at one point, Berber, the sleeve notes provide English translations and explain the songs' core message and musical roots. Like a sumptuous banquet, Medina is a rich mix of dishes, one that will tempt even the most jaded palette. Inevitably, it will be branded world music, a label guaranteed to scare off much of Taha's prospective audience. There's crunching punk numbers, as hardcore as any anarcho-punk band's, but sliced with techno beats, sure to appeal to Prodigy fans. Spanish-flavored numbers are perfect for the salsa crowd, Afro-pop with a syncopated beat are sure to capture reggae fans, and there's even a space rock number for the ambient/prog rockers. With lyrical themes that run the gambit from alienation to the spiritual, Taha's appeal across genres is evident. And while it may sound like a shopping list for an international emporium, in fact, Medina has an extremely coherent sound, built on prominent, danceable rhythms, strong melodies, and powerful vocals, all shot through with a Middle Eastern flavor. A truly world sound.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/06/2001
Label:
Ark 21
UPC:
0618685001924
catalogNumber:
850019

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rachid Taha   Primary Artist
Steve Hillage   Guitar
Hossam Ramzy   Percussion
Helen Liebmann   Cello
Bob Loveday   Violin
Geoff Richardson   Viola
Stanton Moore   Drums
Hakim Hamadouche   Lute,Background Vocals
Robert Mercurio   Bass
Jeffrey Raines   Track Performer
Richard Vogel   Keyboards
Mahmoud Serour   Violin
Jeff Raines   Guitar
Abdel Abrit   Drums
Hassan Lachal   Percussion
Jean-Max Mery   Keyboards

Technical Credits

Steve Hillage   Arranger,Programming,Producer,String Arrangements
Pete Hofmann   Engineer
Hossam Ramzy   String Arrangements
Pete Hoffmann   Engineer
Mahmoud Serour   String Arrangements

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