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Rachid Taha’s Song ‘Ya Rayah’: A Voice for Immigrants

October 28, 2021

Immigrants do not just travel with their bodies, but also with their hearts, minds and spirits. Everyday, it feels like they are trying to reach out to hold on to something real – to hold onto a piece of land that is not fictional or imaginary, but grounds them and pulls them into the vibrations of life. It’s true that not everyone has the same experience, but it’s also a fact that many still do silently – without anyone or anything to ever hold onto. They remain trapped in foreign lands as though they’ve made a pact with the devil: they can either stay while feeling foreign or go back and still feel hungry for opportunities. While immigration has existed for centuries, it has always been redefined for generations that have lived the aftermaths of new historical events, such as colonialism, wars and globalization. An Arabic song that continues to redefine the meaning of immigration is the Algerian chaâbi classic, ‘Ya Rayah’, which was originally released by Amrani Abderrahmane in 1973, and then was later brought to life to a new generation of North Africans and Arabs in the 1990s…

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