Dudu Tassa

Israeli rocker singing in Arabic.

Dudu Tassa is a rock cannon in the style of Rachid Taha and like him he belongs in the past. Newly we can share with him the tale of the rehabilitation of the architects of modern Iraqi music, full of Arab-Jewish hatred, humiliation and the attempt to expunge the names of Dudu’s relatives – his uncle and grandfather Saleh and Daoud al-Kuwaity – from musical history. Today’s audiences at the same time don’t let complications get in the way of Tassa’s hundred-year-old music: with rock, pop and electronica and guest vocalist Nasreen Qadri he has quietly advanced respect for their masterly refined instrumental and melodic timelessness. After eight albums and recording with Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead Dudu Tassa has a strong position as a hit maker on the Israeli scene but despite this we can give him points for courage: to sing even today in Arabic – “the language of the enemy” – requires a lot of courage. However any kind of tendency to reject this leads Tassa to respond – “without a cultural past you do not have cultural future” – and compensates with recalling the importance of his grandfather and uncle. First in the documentary film Iraq N’roll by the director Gili Gaon and later two excellent, world-celebrated albums also performed with extensive groups on stages at European and American festivals, including a special concert for the UN.