Rock 'n' Roll, Arab Style

BARCLAY/FRANCE

FRENCH FUSION: Taha flanvors his music with Algerian spice and sharp, topical lyrics

Somewhere, Joe Strummer must be smiling. Twenty-two years after the late guitarist and his band, the Clash, released the classic single Rock the Casbah, Franco-Algerian singer Rachid Taha has taken the title literally — with a cover of the 1982 hit that blends ringing electric guitars with Arab woodwinds and strings to give it a distinctively north African flavor. In a sense, Taha's take on Rock the Casbah on his new CD answers the provocative question posed by the title track, Tékitoi? (Who Are You?). "I'm a French rock 'n' roller with deep Arab roots," says Taha, 46, in his low...

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