Rashid Taha: French Algerian Protest Singer/Songwriter Says “Bonjour”!

* Thanks and a hug to my new and dear friend in Iraq, Sami, for my introduction to some wonderful new music, from the one who wears glasses and has a big grin:  8D

Lyrics of “Bonjour”:

Hello Kitty, Bonjour violente femme

Bonjour Grace Kelly, Bonjour madame

Hello Superman, Bonjour solitaire

Bonjour tous les jours tout l’envers

[…]

Ola l’amour, Bonjour la fontaine

Bonjour le dernier, Bonjour la graine

Bonjour sur les fesses, Bonjour la neige

Ola le systeme, Bonjour le revers

[…]

Hello Kitty, Bonjour violente femme

Bonjour Grace Kelly, Bonjour madame

Ola l’amour, Bonjour la fontaine

Bonjour le dernier, Bonjour la graine

[…]

Bonjour, Bonjour, Bonjour, Bonjour, Bonjour…

Hello Kitty, Bonjour violent femme

[…]

Bonjour Grace Kelly, Bonjour madame

[…]

Hello Superman, Bonjour solitaire

[…]

Bonjour tous les jours, tout l’envers

[…]

Ola l’amour, Bonjour la fontaine

[…]

Ola le systme, Bonjour le revers…

By the way, the following is Google’s English version, for which I take absolument aucun credit! i.e. I take no credit for it whatsoever…)

“Hello Hello violent woman

Grace Kelly, Hello Hello Mrs.

Superman, lonely Hello

Hello every day to all

[…]

Ola love, the fountain

Hello Hello last Hello

Hello seed on the buttocks,

Hello snow Ola the system,

the reverse Hi

[…]

Hello Kitty, Hello Hello violent woman

Grace Kelly, Mrs.

Ola Hello love, the fountain Hello

Hello latter Hello seed

[…]

Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello …

Hello Kitty, Hello violent woman

[…]

Grace Kelly Hello, Bonjour madame

[…]

Hello Superman, lonely Hello

[…]

Hello every day, all to

[.. .]

Ola love Hello fountain

[…]

Ola system, Hello setback”

From original article in RFI Musique 2009

________________

Rachid Taha says “bonjour”

A protest singer never dies

 

http://www.rfimusique.com/musiqueen/articles/119/article_8289.asp

Paris

09/11/2009 –

Globe-trotting rocker Rachid Taha has been flying back and forth between Paris and New York, making his eighth album with Bowie’s old producer Mark Plati. Bonjour is an album full of sparky guitars and positive vibes, the fruit of a spontaneous collaboration with Louise Attaque frontman Gaëtan Roussel. Taha, who plays L’Olympia in Paris on 10 November, talks to RFI Musique about the genesis of his new album and his thoughts on the government’s immigration policies.


RFI Musique: Why such a simple, naïve album title like Bonjour?
Rachid Taha: I called my album Bonjour – “hello” – because people have more or less stopped going round saying “hello” to one another. Even when they do say “hello”, it’s a purely functional greeting, it rarely comes from the heart. People in France are always rushing up to kiss one another on the cheek, but it’s a purely formal gesture that lacks any real depth or generosity. What I’m trying to do is reinstate “bonjour” to its rightful status, make the exchange of “hellos” a gesture full of warmth and human kindness. I want “hellos” to last and to mean something, like when you say “hello” in Africa and you take the time to talk about what’s going on in the village, what’s happening with friends and people you’ve loved who’ve disappeared, what’s going on with the kids…

How did you come up with the idea of working with Gaëtan Roussel?
I was having a few drinks in a bar in Ménilmontant! And I got to thinking about the song Bonjour. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I asked Gaëtan if he’d write a French version of the song while I wrote one in Arabic. At the end of the day, I preferred his version so we kept that and I added my lyrics. Everything happened so smoothly that I thought “OK, maybe we should take this collaboration a bit further now?” It was a question of feeling really, the right vibe passed between us and that’s how Gaëtan ended up acting as a sort of producer on the album.

Do you think Gaëtan Roussel added a new edge to your sound?
Yes, he did and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to work with him in the first place. I spent many years collaborating with Steve Hillage and then I felt the need to change tack and move on to something different. I loved the work Gaëtan did for Alain Bashung and that’s basically what I wanted from him. I was looking to him to inject a breath of fresh air, a lightness of touch, a bit of a country vibe. I wanted Bonjour to sound a bit like the sort of folk album made by Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley or Ry Cooder. I’m a big Ry Cooder fan!

You recorded part of your new album in New York with Mark Plati who took care of mixing and arrangements. What did he add to your sound?
Mark’s worked with a lot of people over the years like David Bowie, Alain Bashung and Les Rita Mitsouko… I’d say he introduced a bit of an urban rock feel on certain tracks. It was thanks to Gaëtan that we ended up in the studio with Mark and it was a brilliant experience. I’m really into the idea of travelling and exchanging ideas with people. I believe you have to reach out and look elsewhere if you want to vary your sound. I’m not into the idea of putting out the same album over and over again. Music’s like food in that respect – I’d never dream of eating the same thing every day. I don’t want to make myself sick or turn anyone else’s stomach by churning out the same old thing time after time!

On This is an Arabian Song, you and Bruno Maman sing “N’oublie jamais”(Never forget.) Never forget what?
Never forget the world’s problems. Never forget wars, genocide, poverty, misery, never forget the past… I’m not into the idea of nostalgia but I think it’s important to take responsibility for the world. You have to take responsibility for your behaviour towards others. And you have to be aware of the past. It’s only by reaching down to your roots that you can stand tall like a tree.

Where do you stand on the current debate about French national identity launched by the French immigration minister Eric Besson?
It takes me back 25 years, back to the time I recorded Douce France… The thing is the young generation are much more tolerant now than they were in the eighties. Everyone’s got Moroccan, Algerian, Portuguese and Senegalese friends these days. Why does a minister like Besson have to go round stoking up old hatreds if he isn’t trying to win National Front votes before the next election? Funnily enough it was Besson who revived the idea of DNA testing to crack down on immigration. That man is not living in the real world or he wouldn’t come up with such hypocritical solutions. And to think he was once a Socialist!

Bonjour

Rachid Taha Bonjour (Barclay) 2009
In concert at L’Olympia, Paris, 10 November 2009.


Fleur  de la Haye

Translation : Julie  Street

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