I've been giving somewhat short shrift to the Houston International Festival this year, I'll admit it -- and that's a little weird, given that the theme country this time is Ireland, a country that's fairly near & dear to my heart, being that I'm a Generic Western European Mutt who's marginally more of Irish descent than anything else. It's just kind of worked out that I've missed the whole damn thing. sigh.
The really weird part, though, is that the band/musician I'm most excited about is about as far from Irish as humanly possible. When I saw Algerian-born, Paris-based music-maker Rachid Taha on the schedule, my jaw hit the fucking table. The guy's the definition of a genre-breaker, blasting wide apart the boundaries between metal-tinged rock, rai, Europop, and North African folk music, and when he's on, it's pretty incredible.
Odds are, you've heard Taha's music and hadn't even realized it. Remember Black Hawk Down? "Barra Barra", the crowning high-point track off 2000's Made In Medina album, was not only the best thing about the movie's soundtrack but also featured prominently in nearly every promo I ever saw for the film. The seamless, perfectly-executed meshing of metal guitars, traditional drumming, impassioned Arabic lyrics, and deft electronic touches turn the track into the coolest, most chilling soundtrack to a war in the sand I can imagine.
Obviously, Taha's not just about that one song -- Made In Medina's a darn good album, with a lot of cheerier songs in both French & Arabic, and before & after that release he put out two albums' worth of covers of traditional songs, Diwan and Diwan 2. I haven't seen him live, but I'm thinking it's bound to be fairly impressive.
At any rate, he's scheduled to play Sunday, April 26th, at 5PM on the Bud Light Stage -- head on downtown...
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