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Togo Soul 70

Hot Casa Records Previews Vol. 2 With Scorching Four-Tracker Of Edits & Rarities

It's only Tuesday and a rainy one in Berlin, but work came easy as we shook a leg or two to Hot Casa Records' recently released four-tracker of edits and rarities, inspired by its critically acclaimed 2016-released [...]

It's only Tuesday and a rainy one in Berlin, but work came easy as we shook a leg or two to Hot Casa Records' recently released four-tracker of edits and rarities, inspired by its critically acclaimed 2016-released "Togo Soul 70" compilation. 

Julien Lebrun and Djamel Hammadi's Paris-based imprint is most definitely finishing the year in style: Hot on the heels of Vaudou Game's "Otodi" comes this 12"/digital release featuring two torrid, dancefloor-oriented edits of original tracks by Yta Jourias and Roger Damawuzan, readied by Bosq (Ubiquity/FaniaRecords) and DJ Pushin Wood (Loft Party, Holland). 

The B-side reveals two "rare and unreleased Togolese soul tracks by Napo De Mi Amor, aka 'The voice of Lomé', and the tremendous artist Sewavi Jacyntho," previewing the forthcoming and long-awaited release of "Togo Soul 70 Vol. 2", expected in July 2019. Keep it coming!

You can stream/buy the entire release here

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Who Was Essad Bey?

Berlin's Disorientalists Musically Retrace The Footsteps Of This Legendary Persona
 

"Who Was Essad Bey?" is the title of a concept album by the Berlin-based three-piece The Disorientalists, aka the Essad Bey City Rollers, released at the tail end of 2016 on Oriente Records. This truly unique work [...]

"Who Was Essad Bey?" is the title of a concept album by the Berlin-based three-piece The Disorientalists, aka the Essad Bey City Rollers, released at the tail end of 2016 on Oriente Records. This truly unique work in progress features Yuriy Gurzhy (RotFront, Russendisko, Born in UA), whom you may remember from the "High Words" remix, Daniel Kahn (Daniel Kahn and The Painted Bird, Brothers Nazaroff, Semer Ensemble) and last but not least, Marina Frenk (Marina & Kapelsky, Real Baba Dunyah). Hailing from the Ukraine, the US and Moldova respectively, the three joined forces in their new home of Berlin a while back and eventually decided to write and occasionally perform a 'musical', telling the life story of the late, enigmatic Essad Bey, aka Kurban Said, aka Lev Nussimbaum, who is coincidentally also considered "one of the most exotic German writers of the early 20th century." 

And what a story it is: "Born into a Jewish family in Kiev in 1905 and raised in Baku, Lev emigrated to Berlin after the Bolshevik revolution. Fascinated by oriental culture and life, he soon converted to Islam. In fact, one of the reasons for Essad Bey’s success was that he wrote about things he knew well and which seemed extremely exotic and exciting to the German audience, i.e. Islam, oriental culture, or his life in the revolutionary Russian empire. Another factor for Nussimbaum’s success was his very appearance. Essad Bey went on to cast himself in the image of a true Persian prince and played this role throughout his Berlin days. Such an image also attracted Essad Bey’s wife, Erika Loewendahl, who later expressed her disappointment by saying that she believed her husband was an oriental prince, only for him to have turned out to be just another Nussimbaum. There was, however, one more, post-Berlin, part to Essad Bey’s story. In the 1930s the writer left for Italy, where he became an avid fan of Mussolini and even aimed to become his biographer."

Although his life was cut short at the age of 37 by a rare blood disorder, Essad Bey's veiled persona, with a little help from The Disorientalists, continues to intrigue and fascinate audiences to this day. Even more so, seeing as many of his supposed feats might really be fake. "Essad Bey was also known as a great mystifier. It turns out that a number of books he claimed to have written, later appeared to a have a different authorship, while many facts and details from his own works no longer seem entirely trustworthy either." That being said, The Disorientalists continue to seek out new truths on Nussimbaum, as they musically retrace this no doubt legendary figure's footsteps. Call it klezmer cabaret, oriental ragtime or historic theatre, you can listen to the album sampler in the SoundCloud player above, or watch this paparazzi-style footage from an early performance at the Berlin Gorki Theatre's Studio Я in the video below. 

"Well, who WAS Essad Bey?
It’s important to say
That he was born on a train
Somewhere in Ukraine
He grew up in Baku
He’s a Russian, a Jew
But was this who was
Essad Bey?
He lived in Berlin
To Allah he prayed
He once wrote a book
Called 'Allah is Great'
A poser, a fascist
In his very own way
But was this who was
Essad Bey?"

See The Disorientalists perform "Who Was Essad Bey?" live at P.A.N.D.A Theater in Berlin next Saturday, December 15th, 2018! Get your tickets here. This will be their only performance of 2018 so be quick.

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La Candela del Río

Paris-based Venezuelan Fourpiece Insólito UniVerso Releases Fascinating Debut
 

This might very well be the first Venezuelan release featuring on Greedy, but what a beauty it is. Based in Paris, Venezuelan quartet Insólito Universo just released its wondrous 8-track debut album "La Candela del [...]

This might very well be the first Venezuelan release featuring on Greedy, but what a beauty it is. Based in Paris, Venezuelan quartet Insólito Universo just released its wondrous 8-track debut album "La Candela del Río" on Colectivo Futuro's Olindo Records that has us all in frenzy, positively speaking. The project came together back in 2016, when lead singer María Fernanda Ruette and bassist Raúl Monsalve got together in a combined effort to take "Venezuelan music to unheard realms".

Fusing "traditional Venezuelan styles such as joropo, merengue caraqueño, or tambores de San Millán with psych, chanson, [baroque] and contemporary electronics," the group creates original compositions, unique in sound and arrangement, that evoke a sense of forward-thinking nostalgia, while retaining their organic feel and keeping listeners on their heels. As such, "La Candela del Río" is hard to pigeonhole; gleeful, borderline euphoric and danceable on the one hand, yet melancholy, poetic, mysterious and brimming with devotion on the other.  

The fascinating debut album was co-produced by none other than Malcolm Catto of The Heliocentrics and was preceded by a limited 7" release in July, featuring album track "Vuelve" on the A-side and "Décima" on the B-side. The latter is not on the album. Both tracks can be listened to in the SoundCloud player above. Head over to Bandcamp to stream/buy "La Candela del Río" in full. Also, don't miss out on Insólito Universo's new mix for The Vinyl Factory as they continue "to explore the roots and branches of Venezuelan music." 

Insolíto UniVerso are
María Fernanda Ruette (cuatro & vocals)
Raúl Monsalve (bass & FX)
Edgar Bonilla Jiménez (keys)
Andres Sequera (drums) 

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Crossing Borders

Victoria Hanna's Eponymous Debut Album Receives German Record Critics' Award
Greedy
 

We would like to bring this week to a close by sharing some great news:

Earlier this month our very own Israeli phenomenon Victoria Hanna's self-entitled debut album received the Preis der Deutschen [...]

We would like to bring this week to a close by sharing some great news:

Earlier this month our very own Israeli phenomenon Victoria Hanna's self-entitled debut album received the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (aka the German Record Critics' Award) for outstanding musical and artistic achievements.

Originally released back in August on yours truly, Victoria Hanna was awarded in the category "Grenzgänge" (transl. Border Crossings), which makes us especially proud! 

"What she coins Kabbalistic rap or Aramaic hiphop has nothing to do with the rap scene's usual 'bad-boy-brouhaha'. Her verses quote sacred scriptures from the library of her father, while the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, from Alef to Tav, went on to inspire her most beautiful poetic surrealist collage,"  the review reads and we could not agree more.

That being said, if you haven't yet, you can stream/buy her album here or listen in the SoundCloud player above. Congratulations to Victoria Hanna and for now, shabbat shalom!

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Magic Polaroid

Onom Agemo And The Disco Jumpers Are Back With A Versatile Vengeance

Berlin-based experimental afro-psych-kraut-funk collective Onom Agemo And The Disco Jumpers are back with a new body of work, aka the highly anticipated follow-up to their 2017-released sophomore album "Liquid Love" [...]

Berlin-based experimental afro-psych-kraut-funk collective Onom Agemo And The Disco Jumpers are back with a new body of work, aka the highly anticipated follow-up to their 2017-released sophomore album "Liquid Love" that raised quite a few heads in its wake. This time around Johannes Schleiermacher and his eclectic crew venture even deeper into space, forging an intricately powerful and investigative world of sound that remains unmistakably their own.

"Magic Polaroid" was captured during a three-day "recording frenzy" at Daniel Nentwig and Sebastian Maschat's Berlin, Neukölln-based Butterama studios and has a definitive live feel to it. Released via Agogo Records last Friday, the brand new six-track expedition also features 'new' band member Natalie Greffel, who adds her powerful vocals to the already potent wall of sound. Greffel had already worked with the band on the previous album and delivered a freakishly good live performance of album opener "The Trumpets Of Denmark" and title track "Magic Polaroid" back in March, which you can watch below. 

While listening to Onom Agemo And The Disco Jumpers' latest full-length might be considered to be an acquired taste by some, it does bring an incredible set of delicious offerings to the table. Ranging from the dizzying introductory mantra of "The Trumpets Of Denmark" to the captivating Moroccan Gnawa-enhanced trip of "Bonne Trance", from the tricky Ethio-Gamelan fusion of "Welcome Eko" to the frisky and intensely funky wizardry of "Magic Polaroid", and finally from the psychic jazzy spirituality of "Broken Satellites" to the effervescent jacuzzi-vibes and "improbable juxtapositions" of "Super Cannes", "Magic Polaroid" is a lush, profoundly pleasurable smorgasbord for the sonically insatiable among us.

Stream/buy the full release on Bandcamp and/or catch them live, if you can.

Live in Germany 2018:
December 1st // Berlin, Berghain Kantine
December 2nd // Pohrsdorf, Saxstall
December 5th // Hamburg, Knust

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24-7

Daniel Haaksman Unveils Tropical-Flavoured New Single Off Forthcoming Album
 

Hot on the heels of "Overture", Berlin's 'don of tropical bass' Daniel Haaksman has unveiled the fresh new single off his forthcoming new album "With Love, From Berlin", to be released via his Man Recordings imprint [...]

Hot on the heels of "Overture", Berlin's 'don of tropical bass' Daniel Haaksman has unveiled the fresh new single off his forthcoming new album "With Love, From Berlin", to be released via his Man Recordings imprint early next year. "With Love, From Berlin" was conceived as a collaborative project, which reflects on the city of Berlin that continues to attract countless artists and travellers from around the globe and has in many ways become the place to be.

The album thus features vibrant collaborations with Berlin-based artists and vocalists from around the world, who share their passion for the iconic metropolis. That being said, today marks the release of single number two off the album. "24-7" is a dreamy, tropical-flavoured track that features none other than legendary Chicago House pioneer Robert Owens (Fingers Inc. / Larry Heard) alongside Belgian newcomer K.ZIA (who also happens to be the daughter of Zap Mama) on vocal duties. 

Both artists have found a home away from home in Berlin and manifest their deep appreciation for the city's boundless energy and creativity, "where you can be all that you wanna be," as Robert Owens puts it. "24-7" mirrors Berlin's increasingly polyglot and cosmopolitan atmosphere, a place where dreams are still very much alive. But the catchy track is more than just another ode to the city's indelible magic, as its versatile combination of tropicalia, afrobeats and deep house vibes lay further proof to pop music's global potential.

The single release comes equipped with two equally enticing remixes by Lazy Flow (Tropical Vogue, Paris) and Ted Jasper (Future Bounce, London), which you can listen to in the SoundCloud player above. 

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Polish Juke

New Zealand Producer Surly Skilfully Melds Polish Jazz And Chicago Footwork
 

This might be a late call to some of you, but we still believe Surly's "Trip to Warsaw" EP deserves a spot in our Journal. Even more so after seeing an official vinyl release on London's Astigmatic Records earlier [...]

This might be a late call to some of you, but we still believe Surly's "Trip to Warsaw" EP deserves a spot in our Journal. Even more so after seeing an official vinyl release on London's Astigmatic Records earlier this year, due to popular demand. Beehype even went on to call it "one of the understated masterworks of 2017."

Surly is the pseudonym of New Zealand producer and Californian Juke Bounce Werk member Scott Ludvigson, who also happens to be the son of renowned New Zealand jazz musician Tom Ludvigson, known to play alongside Krzysztof Ścierański of the legendary Polish jazz fusion group, Laboratorium.

It may not come as a surprise then that Surly decided to take a trip down memory lane and create a fascinating blend of Polish jazz with Chicago-style juke and footwork patterns, originally released on Lodz-based imprint Polish Juke.

"This EP feels like a time machine, an exploration of the past decades taking footwork back behind the iron curtain. A pinch of romanticism, a touch of melancholy, love, war, unrest, the ambience of cozy clubs and rehearsal rooms wreathed in cigarette smoke, filled with resounding jazz vibes," the liner notes read. 

And indeed, Surly's "Trip to Warsaw" EP is one of a kind, as it digs deep into US underground club culture and finds an unlikely partner in crime, providing for a deep, richly hued backdrop of sepia-coloured sounds, juxtaposed with modern beats, bass and in-your-face street slang. The now sold out, remastered limited edition vinyl release even has an extra track on it, not available digitally. Stream/buy the release on Bandcamp or listen via the SoundCloud player above.

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Cüneyt Sepetçi

Istanbul's Don Of The Roma Clarinet: Live In Berlin
 

When you visit Istanbul for the first time, it's the unexpectedness of it all that might catch you off guard; the unexpected views, the unexpected tastes and of course the unexpected sounds. Part of this megacity's [...]

When you visit Istanbul for the first time, it's the unexpectedness of it all that might catch you off guard; the unexpected views, the unexpected tastes and of course the unexpected sounds. Part of this megacity's indubitable marvel lies in its ability to reveal hidden beauty and meaning at any given moment, if only you look. In walking distance to Istanbul's famous Taksim Square and Istiklal Street is the now run-down neighbourhood of Dolapdere, which has meanwhile been heavily invested into and is soon to be turned into something more 'presentable'. For now, Dolapdere is still considered a no-go area by many locals, seeing as it has a reputation for sex work and drug trafficking. But it is and for a very long time has also been home to a large Roma community and master musicians, including clarinet virtuoso Cüneyt Sepetçi

In an article for The Wire (May 2018 / Issue 411), Heather Trost (aka one half of Albuquerque-based American folk duo A Hack And A Hacksaw and co-label head of the duo's Living Music Duplication imprint) relives her recent visit to the Dolapdere neighbourhood: 

"As we approach [...], the streets get smaller and less maintained. We pass by an austere yellowed cafe filled with men smoking, drinking tea, playing backgammon. This is where many musicians sit, gossip and wait for a gig when they're not playing [or busking] on the street. There don't seem to be a lot of set bands or groups here – everyone knows the same musical language and musicians are somewhat interchangeable. One day you're playing with your cousin, the next you're performing the same song with your neighbour. It makes for a very competitive environment. Sepetçi is one of the best, not to mention hardest working musicians in Dolapdere, and he adds his own musical style to familiar songs," she writes.

Along with her guide Özgür Akgül (also a musician and the director of the 2012 documentary "RomanIstanbul") she is invited into Cüneyt Sepetçi's home and later gets to attend a circumcision party, at which Cüneyt Sepetçi performs: 

"Things are slow to get going, but once they do, the party's on. Sepetçi takes to the stage to test out the PA, and without further ado begins. It's non-stop music for the next couple of hours. It's ear-shatteringly loud and almost psychedelic as it blasts into the changing evening light. The synthesizer player bends every possible note, ornamenting heavily as he follows the lilting, galloping clarinet; meanwhile Sepetçi trills, winds and whoops his way around the melody. The clarinet might have a pure tone, but he can make it howl and shriek if the song calls for it, alternating between sweet melodies and forceful, droned out marches," she describes, as the music and celebrations unfold around her. 

Cüneyt Sepetçi released his album "Bulgar Gaydas" on LM Duplication in 2017 and most recently took to the stage at Le Guess Who? in the Netherlands, dazzling the unsuspecting crown with his mesmerizing flourishes. This Sunday, November 18th, he will be playing live at ACUD in Berlin: 

"The indisputable don of Turkish Roma music and larger-than-life clarinettist [Living Music Duplication, Istanbul] Cüneyt Sepetçi will grace Berlin for the first time with an exclusive appearance. But beware, this is not for the faint at heart, uneven meters galore and musical adventures at break-neck speed," the event description reads. That being said, if you happen to get the chance, do not, we repeat, do not think twice. Also, feel free to listen to Cüneyt's 2014-performance at Roskilde Festival above or watch the official trailer to "RomanIstanbul" below to get yourself in the right mood.

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Guda

Hausa Rap Heir Kirani Ayat Shares Sublime Visuals To Latest Single
 

We're off to northern Ghana in the latest music video by Hausa rap heir Kirani AYAT of AYAT Music, who just dropped the wonderful music video to his equally impressive, NOVA-produced current single "Guda", directed [...]

We're off to northern Ghana in the latest music video by Hausa rap heir Kirani AYAT of AYAT Music, who just dropped the wonderful music video to his equally impressive, NOVA-produced current single "Guda", directed by David Nicol-Sey of North Productions. 

"Guda" is the second single off of Kirani AYAT's forthcoming debut album "Aisha's sun" and features his "signature blend of Hausa and English [as he] weaves a tale of struggle, perseverance, determination and the will to succeed," accompanied by beautifully captured images from Ghana's Bolgatanga region. "I want to show the world the Ghana they don't see everyday; the sounds, culture, dances and landscapes," he elaborates on Facebook

Kirani AYAT literally has his eyes on the throne and "Guda" embodies just that: "The song talks about me being the one. 'Guda' means the one, the chosen one. It also talks about a story of grass to grace; it's sort of like a motivational, inspirational song and also a bit braggadocious too," AYAT tells Okayafrica. Watch the official music video below, or listen to "Guda" in the SoundCloud player above and feel free to share.

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Asnakech

ATFA Readies Pivotal Release By Late Ethiopian Singer & Krar Player Asnakech Worku

Brian Shimkovitz's Awesome Tapes From Africa (ATFA) imprint is set to release another stunner on November 16th. This time the musical protagonist is the late Ethiopian musician, actress, dancer and cultural icon [...]

Brian Shimkovitz's Awesome Tapes From Africa (ATFA) imprint is set to release another stunner on November 16th. This time the musical protagonist is the late Ethiopian musician, actress, dancer and cultural icon Asnakech. As stated in the comprehensive liner notes"there is perhaps no woman more cherished in modern Ethiopian history than Asnakech Worku, [who] inspired and challenged society for decades, until her death in 2011. From her beginnings as Ethiopia's first theater actress in 1952 to her acclaimed film appearances to her days as a club owner-turned-master musician, [Asnakech] earned endless accolades across the artistic spectrum." She also became internationally known for her mastery of the krar, or six-stringed harp, "one of the oldest and most iconic traditional instruments in Ethiopia and Eritrea." 

Our first reaction to these distant, captivating and weirdly entrancing compositions was one of surprise. But as we listened, we became increasingly enthralled. As a matter of fact, this particular recording involves none other than legendary Ethiopian keyboardist and bandleader Hailu Mergia (check out his ATFA-reissued album "Lala Belu"): "In 1975, [Hailu] got a call from the owner of Misratch Music Shop to do a recording with Asnakech and he went for it. This recording is a nearly-forgotten artifact of the remarkable icon’s singular legacy, remastered and available outside Ethiopia for the first time. It also provides a rare glimpse into Mergia’s work as a arranger-sideman in the Addis Ababa music scene." 

Needless to say, Asnakech herself as well as their collaboration left a lasting impression on Hailu Mergia, who shares his personal admiration and adds his "Memories of Asnakech" to the release's liner notes, which we highly recommend you read. This quote here concerns the actual songs on the release: "Some of the songs are traditional, some are her compositions. You can listen to songs like these at home with family, while sitting or reading, in the after-hours at the club, while you’re washing the dishes. When you’re driving, a bunch of people listen while driving. It depends what time when you want to listen. Some people they listen to this kind of love music when they have a good relationship, somebody passed away or somebody stopped dating each other and have emotional flashbacks to what happened in their lives."

You can stream/buy the full release on Bandcamp. There you will also find more in-depth biographical information as well a track by track description. Thank you ATFA and thank you Asnakech.

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Roadtrippin'

The Jewish Monkeys Play The Netherlands Alongside Shantel And His Bucovina Club Orkestar
Greedy
 

Hot on the heels of an eventful summer, including another memorable show at Sziget, our Jewish Monkeys are well rested and ready to embark on another raucous roadtrip. 

This Sunday (November 11th) they will rev up [...]

Hot on the heels of an eventful summer, including another memorable show at Sziget, our Jewish Monkeys are well rested and ready to embark on another raucous roadtrip. 

This Sunday (November 11th) they will rev up their musical engines with an exclusive gig at Frankfurt venue Das Bett, before they head off to the Netherlands next Wednesday (November 14th) to support the inimitable Disko Partizani and friend of the Greedy family Shantel and his Bucovina Club Orkestar at five shows in Den Haag, Breda, Groningen, Amsterdam and Uden. You can find the details to all shows here

Rumour has it, the band is currently working on album number three, the follow-up to their 2017-released sophomore full-length "High Words". To set the mood, you can relisten to Yuriy Gurzhy and Uce's remix of the title track in the SoundCloud player above or watch the short JM teaser below. 

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Vaudou Game

Peter Solo’s Latest Album “OTODI” Is Nothing Less Than Spellbinding

Late last week, Paris-based Hot Casa Records served up another burner as they unveiled the highly anticipated new album by potent French-Togolese afro-funk collective Vaudou Game, the brainchild of bandleader, [...]

Late last week, Paris-based Hot Casa Records served up another burner as they unveiled the highly anticipated new album by potent French-Togolese afro-funk collective Vaudou Game, the brainchild of bandleader, singer and composer Peter Solo. Solo himself was born in Aného-Glidji, Togo, "the birthplace of the Guin tribe and a major site of the Voodoo culture". Meanwhile based in Lyon and backed by his band, he has channeled these ancient ritualistic sounds onto what is now his third album as Vaudou Game, entitled "OTODI". 

"OTODI" is the name of the former Togolese Recording Office, an abandoned yet fully functional recording studio in Lomé. "No one had been through those doors in years", the album bio reads. "Unchanged, seemingly untouched, just a guard watching over it. [...] Through thick layers of dust, the console was vibrating still, impatient to be turned on and spurt out the sound so unique to analog." The studio was closed in 1987, but reopened by Peter Solo and his crew earlier this year. And it is there that they recorded the 13 funk-heavy new tracks that now feature on the album. 

Vaudou Game had found the "space necessary to conjure the spirits of voodoo, those very spirits who watch over men and nature, and with whom Peter converses every day." As such, he was able to draw "the voodoo fluid directly from the source, once again using only Togolese scales to make his guitar sing, his strings acting as channels between listeners and deities." This time around he decided to entrust the rhythmic section to a Togolese bass and drum duo, "putting the groove in the expert hands of those, versed in feeling a type of musicianship that cannot be learned in any school." 

The album can be likened to a highly infectious ball of energy, enhanced by Roger Damawuzan’s James Brown type screams, a chorus of Togolese women or musical quotes from highlife and afrobeat. And, what's more, while referencing mystical, archaic rituals, "OTODI" remains absolutely modern in sound. In short, the entire affair is pulsating, trance-inducing and absolutely spellbinding. 

Preceding the album, Hot Casa dropped a 7" vinyl single containing the tracks "Tata Fatiguée" and "Anniversaire". You can listen to the latter in the live video below. As for the full album, you can stream/buy it on Bandcamp

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