All hail the Jewish Monkeys, who return in living colour to celebrate the upcoming release of their sophomore album "High Words", releasing on April 28th! But for now, we return to one of the group's favourite [...]
All hail the Jewish Monkeys, who return in living colour to celebrate the upcoming release of their sophomore album "High Words", releasing on April 28th! But for now, we return to one of the group's favourite tracks "Titina", which you may remember from here. "Titina" is an infectiously upbeat tune that originally featured in Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times", but was given a Yiddish makeover by the band, adding a touch of their very own funk and punk to the mix. The song is about a "Chussenbucher", a 50-year-old groom-to-be, who is still looking for his special someone.
Meanwhile, Berlin film production company Bear Film sent a team to Tel Aviv, in search of famed underground acts to recruit for their Berlin Sessions live music format. There they met with the Jewish Monkeys crew and scheduled a shoot in a somewhat leftfield location, being a junkyard in the middle of nowhere. Needless to say, the band came dressed to impress and literally brought the house down with a energetic rendition of, you guessed it, "Titina", which you can watch below.
On another note, you may have noticed a slight change in lineup, as the charismatic Assaf Pariente steps into the Jewish Monkeys' frontman triptych in place of Ronni Boiko. Assaf will also be joining the band on their upcoming Germany tour this March. You will find all dates in our updated Shows section. And with that, we say thank you and daidaidaidaidaidaidaidaidaiii!
Available as of today is a different project of sorts, different in the sense of what we usually post on here and different in the literal sense, as in 'I am not sure I have ever heard anything quite like this [...]
Available as of today is a different project of sorts, different in the sense of what we usually post on here and different in the literal sense, as in 'I am not sure I have ever heard anything quite like this before'. Hailing from Umlazi, Durban, South African rapper Simiso Zwane, aka Okmalumkoolkat, puts forth his second "Holy Oxygen" instalment on Vienna-based left-field electronic imprint Affine Records, featuring relentless and forward-thinking production work by his label mates Cid Rim & The cloniOUs.
While we first heard of Okmalumkoolkat in 2012, when he featured on South London dance trio LV's Hyperdub-released debut full-length "Sebenza" and were instantly drawn to his unique lyrical swagger, his "Holy Oxygen I" EP (2014) unfortunately escaped our notice. That being said, here comes "Holy Oxygen II" and it is nothing else than groundbreaking. Luckily, Affine Records delivered a track-by-track description along with the EP so that takes some work off our hands in terms of attempting to describe this mind-melting sonic fusion:
Kicking things off is "Straight To The Top": "The futuristic Gqom-inspired instrumental reflects on the last years of Okmalumkoolkat’s career, during which he has steadily increased the number of audiences for his zharp lyrics, his champion fusion of languages and contents as well as his out of this world dance moves."
Qqom in case you were wondering is a movement that has been taking over the coastal city of Durban, described "as a more 'minimal' and 'raw' variant of South African house, most frequently heard blasting from teenagers’ Blackberrys. Evolved from Kwaito, tribal house and skeletal hip-hop influences, gqom – a word meaning 'hit' or 'drum' in Zulu, which is appropriate for such a stripped-back percussive palette".
Up next is "Zweitbester", which "takes the crew on a journey around the world, bringing Holy Oxygen Jazz tothe far out corners of Planet Earth, [while] distinctive, warped chords and an uplifting-forward house-inspired feel build the foundation for a lit up anthem", only to be followed by "Isimangaliso", equipped with "an intensely condensed instrumental [that] provides the red soil for Simiso’s verbal graffiti, steadily building up into numerous crescendos". And then finally, the grand finale, aka "Shark Attack", serving as "a further example of the trio’s trademark fusion of worlds, opened by a distant chord assembly it develops into a wild, claustrophobic, psychedelic song that is bound to [make a lasting impression on listeners around the globe]". That being said, you best blast this on your headphones.
Once every month, we here at Greedy are particularly keen on turning our proverbial dial to German national radio station Deutschland Radio Kultur, where our friend Thorsten Bednarz hosts the weekly Tonart Weltmusik [...]
Once every month, we here at Greedy are particularly keen on turning our proverbial dial to German national radio station Deutschland Radio Kultur, where our friend Thorsten Bednarz hosts the weekly Tonart Weltmusik show for world music and global grooves. Thorsten is a self-proclaimed "desperate record collector of mainly African grooves" and our personal digger/selector of choice.
For his latest show, he put together a brilliant mix of rare Ghanaian highlife records entitled "This Is Highlife!" with tracks by the Ramblers Dance Band, Kwadwoh Donkoh and his Abokyi Parts, Broadway Dance Band, Precious Jewels, African Brothers International and many more:
"This is a mix to celebrate the beauty of original highlife music. As Fela Kuti said: If you want to understand and to play afrobeat, you have to understand and to study highlife from Ghana first. In this mix you find classic recordings from E.T. Mensah next to almost unknown recordings. All the songs come from the original ghanaian records - no reissues! Many of these songs are from old 45s and were never ever published on an album." Listen here.
One of our favourite purveyors of Neo-African club tunes, aka the notoriously relentless Daniel Haaksman, is back at it and once again laying proof to his undeniable 'goût' as a selectah and able producer: [...]
One of our favourite purveyors of Neo-African club tunes, aka the notoriously relentless Daniel Haaksman, is back at it and once again laying proof to his undeniable 'goût' as a selectah and able producer: Releasing on March 24th via his very own Man Recordings imprint is a catchy new "trans world Afro house and electro inspired club tune" by Canadian-Moçambican singer Samito. "I Saw You" is a song of lost love that takes a surprisingly harsh turn in the recently released companion video, which you can watch below.
Samito himself is currently a on a roll. Having lived in Maputo, Cape Town and Montréal, the singer/songwriter, producer and performer has increasingly made a name for himself with his "distinct blend of electro, afro and indie vibes". His 2016 hit production "Tiku La Hina" released on Costume Records and propelled him to international acclaim on the global club circuit, only to be followed by "Cem Cem (feat. Mabika & Muneshine)", which released on French fashion & music label Kitsuné. Reconnecting with the mighty Mabika on "I Saw You", Samito is set to create yet another global stir in 2017. Mabika the "renaissance-man, is a performer, recording and VFX artist", who adds his big Lingala vocals to the mix, a language of Congolese provenance.
"I Saw You" is now available for pre-order via iTunes. The release includes three international remix treatments by Daniel Haaksman, London producer Mina (of Enchufada fame) and last but not least Nairobi's Jinku (East African Wave posse), bringing you the new sound of Kenya. Listen to Daniel Haaksman's dancefloor-friendly Afro house rework in the player above. As of today the track is up for grabs via SoundCloud, just in time for the weekend!
Just days ahead of their upcoming Germany tour the tireless Jewish Monkeys land extensive coverage in Germany's leading Sunday paper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. The full-page article by Jörg [...]
Just days ahead of their upcoming Germany tour the tireless Jewish Monkeys land extensive coverage in Germany's leading Sunday paper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. The full-page article by Jörg Thomann arrives just in time for a string of live performances to take place across seven German cities over the next seven days. You can find a detailed list of all upcoming gigs in our designated 'Shows' section. As for the eloquent write-up, well it's German only and it's a long piece, so unfortunately we will not be able to translate the entire article for you. However, the opening sentence does set the tone:
"The Jewish Monkeys are a band, that has yet to experience its breakthrough, which is actually fantastic for them. Not from a commercial standpoint, not at all, but very much so artistically."
Head over here for the entire read and make sure to catch this 'cage aux folles' live on a stage near you, if you happen to be in the area that is. And for all you non-German-speakers out there, we leave you with these awkward moments of silence by yours truly.
Although we usually don't cover the big names and rather try to circumvent the at times overpowering Anglo-American grasp on so-called popular culture, we could not deny the latent 'Om' factor underlying this [...]
Although we usually don't cover the big names and rather try to circumvent the at times overpowering Anglo-American grasp on so-called popular culture, we could not deny the latent 'Om' factor underlying this historic, soon-to-be-released compilation by New York-based imprint Luaka Bop (does William Onyeabor ring a bell?), covering ecstatic music by a certain Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda. Yes, that is THE Alice Coltrane, who was once married to the late jazz great John Coltrane and was a brilliant musician in her own right, with prominent releases dating back to her Impulse! solo debut "A Monastic Trio" released in 1967, coincidentally the year of John Coltrane's death. (Here's an extensive yet worthwhile follow-up read by Pitchfork's Andy Beta)
Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda was a spiritual person to say the least. Spirituality as a matter of fact shaped and guided the last four decades of her life, an often overlooked process that began during her four-year marriage to John Coltrane and continued well thereafter. In 1983 for instance, Alice laid the groundwork for the Sai Anantam Ashram on the outskirts of Los Angeles, where she began to record and release music on private cassette tapes to distribute within the spiritual community.
On May 12th, Luaka Bop is now set to release a compilation consisting of said recordings, thereby making eight of these songs available to the wider public for the first time ever. The 2LP vinyl release will even contain two more songs than the digital, CD and cassette releases. All songs were derived from four cassette tapes, recorded by Alice between 1982 and 1995, respectively entitled "Turiy Sings", "Divine Songs", "Infinite Chants" and "Glorious Chants". This historic compilation will be released as the first volume of Luaka Bop's "World Spirituality Classics" series of essential spiritual music. For more information, visit the release page. As for a sneak preview, see the video below or check our SoundCloud player above for the full version of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda's "Om Shanti". Om.
Sure, there's a lot of hype surrounding this group of contemporary Thai villagers, though there just may be some truth in people claiming this to be one of the greatest musical discoveries...wait for it...ever! But [...]
Sure, there's a lot of hype surrounding this group of contemporary Thai villagers, though there just may be some truth in people claiming this to be one of the greatest musical discoveries...wait for it...ever! But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The short version of their story is this: In 2011 a group of Thai musicians, later to be known as Khun Narin's Electric Phin Band, uploaded a video of them wheeling a seemingly decrepit homebuilt soundsystem through a remote village, playing "some of the heaviest Psych known to mankind". This was literally too good to be true! The video captioned "MINDBLOWING PSYCHEDELIA FROM THAILAND" later went viral (following a post on the Dangerous Minds Blog) and in 2013, they were signed to L.A. imprint Innovative Leisure, where they've released two albums to date, both available from Bandcamp.
"The music they play is called phin prayuk. The first word refers to the lead instrument, a 3-stringed lute known as the phin. The phin player, uses a string of Boss effects pedals, including a phaser, distortion and digital delay to get his sound. He also builds his own instruments, installing Fender pickups into hand-carved hardwood bodies, with elaborate mythical serpents adorning the headstock. The band takes pride in their custom PA system, as well as an imposing tower of 8 loudspeaker horns atop a huge bass cabinet. Khun Narin's Electric Phin Band's membership is always in rotation and spans several generations, from high school kids to men well into their 60s. A standard engagement has the band setting up at the hosting household during the morning rituals, playing several low-key sets from the comfort of plastic lawn chairs occasionally working in a cover version of a foreign classic (The Cranberries 'Zombie' is a favorite) while the beer and whiskey flow freely. After a mid-day banquet, they start up the generator and lead a parade through the community to the local temple, picking up more and more partiers along the way."
There's obviously more to the story and a lot more to be said about this enigmatic formation of, well, everyday guys of sorts. But for now, here's a short video piece to give you a better impression of the group and offer a glimpse of the Khun Narin experience, brought to you by ways of the Great Big Story.
This March is going to be absolutely mad, as the Jewish Monkeys embark on their annual tour to 'jewnify' Germanistan. On March 11th they land in Berlin for a special night of Purim festivities. Purim is a Jewish [...]
This March is going to be absolutely mad, as the Jewish Monkeys embark on their annual tour to 'jewnify' Germanistan. On March 11th they land in Berlin for a special night of Purim festivities. Purim is a Jewish holiday to commemorate the saving of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire from their nemesis Haman, who, like so many others before and after him, wanted the Jews wiped off the face of this earth.
Today, Purim is celebrated as a sort of Jewish carneval, which brings us back to March 11th and an exclusive Purim Party taking place at Berlin's Roter Salon and featuring said Jewish Monkeys as well as the one and only Ukraine-born/Berlin-based DJ Yuriy Gurzhy (RotFront, Shtetl Superstars Orchestra et al), musician, DJ, producer, radio broadcaster and organiser of the now legendary Russendisko club nights, alongside acclaimed writer Wladimir Kaminer.
Just ahead of the gig, Gurzhy re-released his superb 18-minute mix of 'Yiddish Bangers', which we are more than happy to share with you today. Tune in to the SoundCloud player above for this swinging selection of 'shtetl' sounds and do join the upcoming Purim festivities, if you get a chance.
Releasing today on Agogo Records (who rarely disappoint) is new heat by the fabled Onom Agemo and The Disco Jumpers, a contemporary afrofunk five-piece out of Berlin, combining traditional and modern African music [...]
Releasing today on Agogo Records (who rarely disappoint) is new heat by the fabled Onom Agemo and The Disco Jumpers, a contemporary afrofunk five-piece out of Berlin, combining traditional and modern African music with elements akin to their own musical heritage such as psychedelic synth excursions, slices of freejazz and minimalistic grooves to meet any audiophile's needs.
Out now, is their eagerly awaited sophomore album "Liquid Love", a mesmerising, 9-track work of vibrant passion, overflowing with dense musicianship, playful improvisation and pulsating rhythms, drawing listeners in from the start. The album's title track, for instance, will have you second guessing if 33rpm was the right choice, as the viscous melody flows on, dragging lusciously towards infinity. Watch the official music video below.
"The (entire) album incorporates bits and bops from the past, present and future, drawing influences from both very familiar and also far away places. Just to name a few, there’s Krautrock, AfroFunk, traditional Moroccan Trance, Future Jazz and much more to be found. The Beatles excluded, though," the release page reads.
Onom Agemo and The Disco Jumpers are the globetrotting Johannes Schleiermacher on sax, woodwinds and modular synth, Jörg Hochapfel on old organs and analog synths, Kalle Zeier on guitar and vocoder, Kalle Enkelmann on bass and microphones as well as Bernd Oezsevim on drums and cymbals. Adding to the mix are selected guest vocals by Maria Schneider, Natalie Grefel and Olga Xavier, mainly on the elaborate, four-part suite "Somebody".
"Liquid Love" is definitely a body of work to dance to, to dream to, to dive into, to get lost in, to fantasise about and, well, we're sure you're going to find even more ways of putting these somewhat mystic and abstract yet highly infectious compositions to good use. That being said, do yourself a favour and listen to the full release as often as you can. Feel free to let us know, when the effect wears off. We sincerely doubt it will.
BREAKING: Our favourite two-man wrecking crew... Wait a minute. Re-wiiind! Make that a three-man wrecking crew. Yes, you heard right. MALOX, our favourite three-man wrecking crew, has evolved and will be performing [...]
BREAKING: Our favourite two-man wrecking crew... Wait a minute. Re-wiiind! Make that a three-man wrecking crew. Yes, you heard right. MALOX, our favourite three-man wrecking crew, has evolved and will be performing as a trio from now on. Joining the musical one-two punch of Eyal Talmudi (sax, clarinet, bag-pipes) and Roy Chen (drums) is Eyal's brother Assaf Talmudi, who will add his keyboard genius and electronic flair to the already potent mix we witnessed on the combo's latest LP "Gaza Trip".
This literally opens up an entire new realm of possibility, which has us twitching nervously in anticipation of what's to come. That being said and if only to put our restless souls at ease, the new and improved three-piece just released a brand new studio video, recorded and performed live at Slik Studios in Tel Aviv and even including what looks to be a vocalist. You decide.
The video is called "Dancing To Nothing" and is a rawer, more straight-forward take on a previous collaboration between Eyal Talmudi, Roy Chen and Buttering Trio's Rejoicer, released via Time Grove Selections on a record called "Saved My Eyes From Tears" (featuring Omri Mor). New MALOX member Assaf Talmudi, by the way, is a leading producer, composer and instrumentalist on the Israeli pop and experimental circuit and has produced albums for the likes of Berry Sakarof, Ehud Banai, Shlomy Shaban and Shai Tsabary. But for now, let's enjoy "Dancing To Nothing". This track really has a vamped up Ethiopian jazz / Mulatu Astatke vibe to it. Don't you think?
The concept of time is one of life's greatest enigmas, but equally fundamental, when it comes to the art of rhythm and beatmaking. Which brings us to one of the most prolific and celebrated beat champions of all [...]
The concept of time is one of life's greatest enigmas, but equally fundamental, when it comes to the art of rhythm and beatmaking. Which brings us to one of the most prolific and celebrated beat champions of all time, being Detroit's James "J Dilla" Yancey, master sampler and pioneering hiphop producer, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 32. Every February for the past 10 years and counting fans around the world have been coming together to celebrate his life and work.
One of last year's tributes rather unexpectedly came by ways of Lahore, Pakistan, as now brought to greater attention in a recent piece by Bandcamp writer Jordan Ferguson: "Jaubi, a collective of Indian classical musicians from Lahore, Pakistan, quietly uploaded a video on Youtube to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Dilla’s passing: a cover version of “Time: The Donut of the Heart” from Dilla’s final album Donuts. A sarangi plays the signature loop, tabla and vocals provide a surprising bounce and plaintive acoustic guitar chords add melodic cohesion. In 60 short seconds, the members of Jaubi take Dilla’s original and turn it into something wholly different, yet instantly recognizable."
Within days, the video generated thousands of views and ultimately led to the vinyl release of their debut EP "The Deconstructed Ego" on London's Astigmatic Records imprint. As revealed on the group's Bandcamp page, "Jaubi (جو بھی) is an Urdu word roughly translating to 'whatever'. Creating whatever sounds good and whatever feels good is the goal".
Incorporating elements of Hindustani (North Indian) classical music, Jaubi emphasize the free-flowing nature of their tracks: “It’d be very difficult to replicate what we record. If I was to play what was recorded I’d have to go back and learn it like a new song, because I can’t remember most of that stuff. The other guys would say the same thing, because it’s just that moment in time,” says Ali Riaz Baqar (Jaubi's founder/guitar/kalimba), the 'other guys' being Zohaib Hassan Khan (sarangi), Kashif Ali Dhani (tabla/vocals) and Qammar Vicky Abbas (cajon/vocals).
Ever heard of Stephan Remmler and his band Trio? Maybe not. However, you may have crossed paths with his German new wave hit “Da Da Da”, released at the ultra-coolish, icy beginnings of the '80s; a monotonous, [...]
Ever heard of Stephan Remmler and his band Trio? Maybe not. However, you may have crossed paths with his German new wave hit “Da Da Da”, released at the ultra-coolish, icy beginnings of the '80s; a monotonous, semi-callous, numb, yet cynically funny anti-love song with that now iconic, recurring line, quasi spoken by a deep and seemingly indifferent male voice in the same repetitive groove as the Da Da Da bass: “Ich lieb Dich nicht, Du liebst mich nicht” (I don’t love you, you don’t love me). The strength, authenticity and honesty of this track propelled it to worldwide recognition, as an English version was in high demand.
One moment later in history, with the '80s in their finishing round, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Prince were very much alive and kicking, new wave and punk were past their peak, while former B-movie actor Ronny Reagan was in full swing, poised to crush Gorbachev’s Soviet Empire with his “Star Wars”-ish arms race; it was around that time in the year 1987 that Stephan Remmler’s band Trio released “Alles hat ein Ende (nur die Wurst hat zwei)” (Everything has an end, but the sausage has two), a comical and once again deeply cynical ‘Schlager’, which basically boils down to the grim insight that almost every relationship must come to an end, save for the sausage, which literally has two ends. The track to this day remains a hit, on the national level at least. It may have overdosed on that particular kind of humoresque German primitivism, that is less understood elsewhere, but the phrase and song, now staples of German pop culture, have since taken on a life of their own.
Which, almost 30 years later, brings us to a certain Joe Fleisch (pronounced ‘flysh', meaning meat or flesh in German) aka Jossi Reich, frontman and controversial crooner of the notorious Jewish Monkeys.
Immodestly, Joe Fleisch, the self-proclaimed “neo-Yiddish singer”, claims his singing in the old language “is how Yiddish Pop would have sounded, had Hitler never been born”. A son of Jewish-Polish Holocaust survivors, who after the war found a new home in Germany of all places and who then emigrated to Israel in the late 90s, Joe had always been obsessed with an aspiration to transform the German hits of his youth into Yiddish tunes. Hence, the German sausage, alias “Wurst”, turned into the Yiddish “Wursht”. It just so happened, that Joe approached one of his closest buddies, the video clip director Guy J. Bolandi, who put him in touch with composer/producer Ori Toledano, both acclaimed artists on the Tel Aviv scene.
The latter outfitted Joe Fleisch’s tune with a contemporary, electro-oriental club sound, while Guy J. Bolandi, one of Israel’s most sought after commercial directors for all kinds of tasteless and less tasteless consumer products, always trigger-happy when it comes to doing something provocative, set up a dark, nightly forest scenery and filled it with a bunch of mind-bogglingly erotic female models, who in turn, having just escaped their teens, symbolize that lurking temptation facing millions of poor, horny, heterosexual men on a daily basis, once they have decided to stay true to their chosen one for the rest of their lives.
In order to make the depth of his Yiddish lyrics more comprehensible, Joe urged Bolandi to add some karaoke flair to his “Wursht”. This inspired Bolandi to not only body-paint his actresses with the English translation to Fleisch’s lyrics, but to even take things one step further and integrate a typographic visualization into this stunning lyrical metamorphosis from German to Yiddish. Bolandi combined visual elements usually found in works by contemporary graphic design artists with strong references to the works of Robert Brownjohn, one of the pioneering title-sequence-designers of his time (i.e. James Bond, “Goldfinger”).
The result is an innovative pop music video, likely to become the very first international Yiddish chart-breaker of the past seven or more centuries (ever since Yiddish came into being, sometime in the dark, German, medieval ages). Yeah!
In closing we say, cursed be the one, who almost exterminated this language. His body may have been burned to ashes after he committed suicide, but his genocidal legacy lives on, be it in the killing fields of Cambodia, in former Yugoslavia, Ruanda, Darfur, Syria, etc. But this shall not be our concern. Instead, we care about fashion, love and ecstasy. So have no fear. Even though the end is near, Joe Fleisch’s “Wursht”, from the hands of Ori Toledano and Guy J. Bolandi, will be sure to console us and keep us afloat, as Global Warming and unfortunate wars threaten to melt and burn us very soon; to ashes. Enjoy!
In a recent mailout by Freemuse, an independent international organisation advocating and defending freedom of expression, we were saddened to learn about some concerning statistics. Entitled "Art Under Threat" the [...]
In a recent mailout by Freemuse, an independent international organisation advocating and defending freedom of expression, we were saddened to learn about some concerning statistics. Entitled "Art Under Threat" the report states that Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, China and Russia lead the list of countries "systematically violating and failing to secure artistic freedom in 2016". In fact, these six countries account for 59% of the serious violations recorded last year.
This is not about pointing fingers, but rather about creating awareness for an issue that needs to be addressed on a global scale, be it the act of silencing, censoring or prosecuting artists or any other attempt to stifle artistic expression. As poignantly stated by Freemuse Executive Director Ole Reitov: “When populist and nationalist governments, as well as others in a position of power, forcefully try to secure a single dominant narrative, artists are at increased risk. Artistic expressions do not and should not fit into one frame. A healthy society needs alternative creative voices.”
In total Freemuse registered 1,028 cases of censorship and attacks on artistic freedom across 78 countries in 2016, doubling the number of cases registered in 2015, being 469. In addition Freemuse documented 188 total serious violations – killings, attacks, abductions, imprisonments and threats – and a staggering 840 acts of censorship. The full report on #ArtUnderThreat is available here.