Obituaries

Singer Rachid Taha, who fused Arabic music and rock, dies at 59

FILE - In this July 19, 2005 file photo, Algerian singer Rachid Taha sings on the main stage during the opening day of the Paleo Festival in Nyon, Switzerland. Rachid Taha, an Algerian singer who thrillingly blended Arabic music with rock and techno and at times wore blue contact lenses to protest anti-Arab prejudice in France, where he made his home, has died. He was 59. (Sandro Campardo, Keystone via AP, File)
Sandro Campardo, Keystone via Associated Press/File
Mr. Taha’s songs sometimes were flecked with criticism of anti-Arab sentiment in France.

PARIS — Algerian singer Rachid Taha, who thrillingly blended Arabic music with rock and techno and at times wore blue contact lenses to protest anti-Arab prejudice in his adoptive France, has died. He was 59.

Mr. Taha’s record label, Naïve, announced his death in a statement on its Facebook page. It said he died overnight Tuesday following a heart attack at his home in the Paris suburb of Les Lilas.

Mr. Taha had recently finished recording an album for release next year.

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Born in Algeria, Mr. Taha moved to France at age 10 with his parents.

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With the group ‘‘Carte de Sejour’’ (“Residence Permit”), Mr. Taha caused a stir in France in 1986 with a husky-voiced rocky cover of legendary singer-songwriter Charles Trenet’s sentimental, patriotic, ‘‘Douce France,’’ (“Sweet France.”)

The group distributed copies of the song in France’s Parliament as lawmakers were debating changes to nationality laws.