loading
no content

Habibi Funk

Funky Vinyl Music From The Arab World
 

Seeing as 'habibi' is a word too seldom heard these days, we decided it's time we shared the tremendous Habibi Funk episodes hand-selected and compiled by Jakarta Records' main man Jannis, who did his digging on his [...]

Seeing as 'habibi' is a word too seldom heard these days, we decided it's time we shared the tremendous Habibi Funk episodes hand-selected and compiled by Jakarta Records' main man Jannis, who did his digging on his numerous travels to North Africa and Tunisia in particular:

“While being there, I did some digging and found some incredible music from the ’60s and ’70s. Some of the music in [...] has zero info on the Net, was never sold on eBay, and has not been ‘rediscovered’ yet. Others are somewhat classics in the field of ‘Arabic groove’."

After Habibi Funk Volume 001 featured a re-release of Tunisian band Dalton, Volume 002 covers musical excavations from Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Algeria, Lebanon, and Syria. Volume 003 features tunes from Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon, while the recently released Volume 004 presents Egyptian funk covers (James Brown!) and disco from Algeria and Morocco as well as "a killer Tunisian tune that’s a nice mix of modern soul and poppy reggae", says the man himself.

Tip of the hat to Jannis for his brilliant and necessary finds and to all our habibi's out there we say, "keep with the funk!"

// quotes via Wax Poetics.

close
continue

Muslims & Christians

Habibi Funk Takes A Closer Look At The Sudanese Jazz Scene & Kamal Keita

Following our recent recommendation of Berlin-based reissue label Habibi Funk's latest mix, we checked the imprint's Bandcamp page only to find ourselves drawn to yet another release, entitled "Muslims & [...]

Following our recent recommendation of Berlin-based reissue label Habibi Funk's latest mix, we checked the imprint's Bandcamp page only to find ourselves drawn to yet another release, entitled "Muslims & Christians". And the story goes a little something like this: 

While taking a closer look at the Sudanese jazz scene and the artist Sharhabeel Ahmed in particular, label head Jannis Stürtz began to dig deeper and eventually decided to fly to Sudan to further investigate and learn about the local music scene in the '70s. As he recalls, Kamal Keila was a name that popped up, an artist "coined the James Brown or Fela Kuti of Sudan." 

With the help of local IT expert Yassir Awad, who also happens to run a music blog covering Sudanese jazz bands, Jannis was able to arrange a meeting with Kamal on the outskirts of Khartoum and spend an afternoon in the latter's home. As it turned out, Kamal had never released a record on vinyl nor on cassette, but still had two tapes from sessions recorded for Sudanese radio. 

"In Sudan the radio stations were not allowed to play the recordings produced by music labels on air, therefore they had their own studios and invited musicians to record music for their program. In most cases the musicians would not receive a copy of the recordings out of fear that they would release the music themselves."

Though the two five-track tapes Kamal was able to dig up seemed to be in a terrible state, they actually played well. One tape contained tracks with English lyrics, the other was in Arabic. 

"Musically you can hear the influence of neighbouring Ethiopia much more than on other Sudanese recordings of the time, as well as references to Fela and American funk and soul. Kamal's lyrics, at least when he sings in English, which indicates more freedom from censorship, are very political. A brave statement in the political climate of Sudan of the last decades, preaching for the unity of Sudan, peace between Muslims and Christians and singing the blues about the fate of war orphans called 'Shmasha'," Jannis explains. 

Now released for the very first time on Habibi Funk, these two radio sessions dating back to 1992 are the very first in a series covering the Sudanese jazz scene and another invaluable document, saved from obscurity. You can buy/stream the entire release here. Enjoy!

close
continue

Shirin Joon

Liraz Releases Single #2 Off Her Forthcoming Album On Dead Sea Recordings
 

Right now it's all eyes on Liraz as the multi-talented Israeli artist of Persian origin unveils the second single off her forthcoming LP on Tel Aviv's Dead Sea Recordings. While her family emigrated to Israel during [...]

Right now it's all eyes on Liraz as the multi-talented Israeli artist of Persian origin unveils the second single off her forthcoming LP on Tel Aviv's Dead Sea Recordings. While her family emigrated to Israel during the '70s, right before the Iranian Revolution, Liraz's distant roots are core to her art. In fact, she has chosen to place a strong emphasis on the role of women as well as female artists and singers in Iranian society and culture.

Her brand new single is a beautiful nod to Kourosh Yaghmaei, "one of the biggest heroes of pre-revolutionary Iranian music. Throughout the 1970s he was one of Iran's quintessential guitar gods, rock stars and prophets of a young, progressive generation in Iran. His career collapsed soon after the Islamic Revolution started. And, just like other musicians and singers, especially women, he was barred from releasing records, traveling and performing live."

Produced and arranged by Rejoicer, Liraz's rendition of Kourosh Yaghmaei's song "Shirin Joon" is accompanied by Gershon Waiserfirer on electric oud, Gilad Abro on bass, Roy Chen on drums, Aviva Aleav on violin, Roy Hermon on keys, Ben Aylon on percussion and Rejoicer on synths, rhodes and drum programming. "Shirin Joon" is a heartfelt letter to a beloved soul that seems without reach. Starting off on swirling string arrangements, the Liraz's version embarks on a lush, forward-thinking beat along with just the right amount of Persian pizazz. 

"Dear Shirin / At the corner of the sky / Written with great letters  / Who ever has a beautiful lover / Has his place guaranteed in heaven / Dear Shirin / My soul my sweetheart  / Be my sweet life and kiss me / But you’re walking away / And you are leaving me here broken into pieces," the translated lyrics read.

You can listen to the single in the SoundCloud player above or buy/stream it here. Also, check out the video to Liraz's debut single "Nozi Nozi" below. Her highly-anticipated LP "Naz" releases via Dead Sea Recordings on October 19th.

close
continue

Nyege Nyege

Ugandan Music Festival Faces Charges Of Promoting Homosexuality

After quite a scare, this year's MTN Nyege Nyege festival in Jinja, Uganda is now in full effect. In a letter addressed to the East African country's Minister of Internal Affairs and the Inspector General of Police [...]

After quite a scare, this year's MTN Nyege Nyege festival in Jinja, Uganda is now in full effect. In a letter addressed to the East African country's Minister of Internal Affairs and the Inspector General of Police earlier this week, the Ugandan Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Rev Fr Simon Lokodo, had asked that the festival be stopped "over claims of promoting homosexuality"

"I have received credible information from Religious Leaders, Opinion Leaders, and Local Authorities that the purpose of this festival, in the last two years, has been compromised, to accommodate the celebration and recruitment of young people into homosexuality, and LGBT movement," a section of the letter reads. 

While it seemed as though the festival would actually be cancelled and numerous fans took to social media to voice their surprise and concern, the minister's motion found low support and Mr Lokodo was finally urged to admit defeat: 

“I tried my best to block it (Nyege Nyege), but the devil has a strong hand. I had to backtrack,” the minister said and added: “The first day (on Tuesday) I announced that it (the festival) won’t happen, but yesterday (Wednesday) because of pressure from all sides, my elders and even my own boss, I had to concede defeat.”

Earlier this year, the festival organisers had announced, that Nyege Nyege was going to add 3 letters to its name. MTN, "Uganda's biggest telecommunication company", came on board as sponsors of this year's event. The festival is currently in its fourth year. What started as a small rained-out gathering in 2015 with around 800 people, has now turned into a highly significant festival for music and culture in East Africa, which is expected to draw 8,000 people this year:

"Made possible by the tireless efforts of volunteers and artists [...] Nyege Nyege has built an identity true to the underground, promoting values such as freedom of expression, respect, curiosity and pride in our culture while maintaining openness to diversity and the world at large, something Uganda has become known for throughout the world," a statement by the organizers reads. 

Nyege Nyege seems to be in full swing now and this year's lineup should make for an amazing musical experience. Luckily, this so-called devil has once again prevailed.

close
continue

More Habibi Funk

Berlin-based Reissue Label Drops Another Mix Of Hard-To-Find Arabic Funk
 

About time, we thought to ourselves, when we saw a brand new Habibi Funk mix pop up in our timeline. And apparently, so did Jannis Stürtz, the Berlin-based label founder and avid digger, who also happens to run the [...]

About time, we thought to ourselves, when we saw a brand new Habibi Funk mix pop up in our timeline. And apparently, so did Jannis Stürtz, the Berlin-based label founder and avid digger, who also happens to run the Jakarta Records imprint: 

"I realized last weekend that I had not done a mix since early 2017 and it was about time to bring the series back. So here is Habibi Funk Mix 008 with a selection of vinyl and tapes which were originally released in the 1970s, 1980s, and even as late as late 1990s. We got a couple of previews for material we have licensed and that will drop in the future from artists such as the Golden Hands, Attarazat Addahabia, The Scorpions and Majid Soula. Apart from that I’m super happy to have Libya covered with 3 tracks, a country about whose musical heritage I didn’t know much outside Ahmed Fakroun obviously. From the obscure to the more known...."

The last time we covered the Habibi Funk adventures was at the tail end of 2015. Back at the time there were four mixes in circulation. Now here comes number 008.  Listen via the SoundCloud player above and head over to the Habibi Funk Bandcamp page for mixes 001-007 as well as the label's official releases.

close
continue

Kasahwa

A Collection Of Early Singles By Zimbabwean Mbira Master Stella Chiweshe
 

"I am a rebel," smiles the 70-year-old Zimbabwean legend Stella Chiweshe, a breath-taking artist and performer also known as "The Queen of Mbira". Having spent her childhood surrounded by American Rock’n’Roll [...]

"I am a rebel," smiles the 70-year-old Zimbabwean legend Stella Chiweshe, a breath-taking artist and performer also known as "The Queen of Mbira". Having spent her childhood surrounded by American Rock’n’Roll and Country by artists the likes of Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Jim Reeves, and The Everly Brother, she at first showed little interest in local traditional music. That is until she took a liking to the Mbira, "an instrument consisting of 22 to 28 metal keys mounted on a wooden healing tree body." 

But Mbira also refers to "an ancient mystical music, which has been played for over a thousand years by the Shona people. Its most important function is as a 'telephone to the spirits of people, water, trees, stones and birds,' used to contact both deceased ancestors and tribal guardians, at all-night ceremonies."  Even though Stella Chiweshe eventually turned into "an avid student of the instrument and the philosophy connected to it", playing Mbira music was not considered a suitable activity for women in the British colony of Rhodesia. Thus, no one was willing to teach her, much less build an instrument for her. 

She ended up recording her very first single "Kasahwa" (1974) on a borrowed thumb piano and became a local sensation. After Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, Stella Chiweshe began touring internationally and gained further acclaim, first as a soloist for the new "National Dance Company of Zimbabwe", then under her own name. Now considered a true African music icon, Stella Chiweshe lives between Zimbabwe and Germany, with Berlin being her second home.  

On September 14th, Glitterbeat Records will release a captivating collection of her early singles, remastered by Nick Robbins from London’s Sound Mastering studio. The eight "impossible-to-find" recordings on "Kasahwa" span the period from 1974-1983 and have never been officially released outside of Africa.

Listen to "Mayaya (Part 1 & 2)" in the SoundCloud player above or the video below. There will be an exclusive record release concert taking place at YAAM Berlin on September 13th

close
continue

Malphino

Time To Visit This Tropical Island Of Heady Volcanic Sounds

This summer season may be coming to a close, but there should always be time for another visit to Malphino. Said destination is "an imaginative tropical island", inhabited by a mystical band of outer-nationals from [...]

This summer season may be coming to a close, but there should always be time for another visit to Malphino. Said destination is "an imaginative tropical island", inhabited by a mystical band of outer-nationals from London, who have dreamt up their own musical "promised land of hypnotic cumbia rhythms, subtle digital warbling, accordion textures, voodoo vapours and woodblock charm"

In May the eponymous London collective of musicians and visual artists released its debut album "Visit Malphino", a 17-track "cinematic score and audio backdrop to their idyll", available to stream/buy on Bandcamp. Travellers to their affluent realm will be mesmerised by the outfit's broad range of styles from either side of the Pacific, combining "East-Asian folkloric traditions, Brazilian forró, 1930's Cuban rumba or Peruvian chicha and cumbia" to create "a heady mix of volcanic sounds". Simply magical!

Band members Alex Maglalang, El Dauphin, Bruce Beach, David Aird, Graham Mushnik, Julian Varencia, and Yu Sato themselves hail from Japan, Malaysia, Colombia, France, the UK and the Philippines, making for a solid multicultural foundation to their joint project. That being said, we can only repeat what we said from the start. So go ahead and "Visit Malphino". You will not be disappointed. And while you're at it, you may also want to check out their 2013 released EP "El Lava de Gabacho".

close
continue

El Niño

French Afro-Soul Duo DjeuhDjoah & Lieutenant Nicholson Release Piping Hot 7"

Ooh wee! What have we here? Back in June, the up-and-coming French afro-soul duo DjeuhDjoah & Lieutenant Nicholson released a piping hot limited edition 7" single on Paris-based Hot Casa Records, previewing their [...]

Ooh wee! What have we here? Back in June, the up-and-coming French afro-soul duo DjeuhDjoah & Lieutenant Nicholson released a piping hot limited edition 7" single on Paris-based Hot Casa Records, previewing their forthcoming sophomore album "Aimez ces airs".

The A-side features "El Niño", a funktastic afro-beat infused groover dealing with climate change, which is bound to set international dancefloors alight. On the flip side listeners will find a track entitled "Fontaine (Drink, Drink)", an equally catchy and danceable tune all about that precious resource water. Stream/buy both tracks here. Watch the official companion video to "El Niño" below. 

A follow-up to the singer/producer duo's 2015 debut album "T'es qui?", "Aimez ces airs" will be released in November. Be sure to have these guys on your radar!

close
continue

Victoria Hanna – The Album

The Israeli Phenomenon Releases Her Debut Longplayer On Greedy for Best Music
Greedy
 

Today marks release day for a very special artist, who just recently joined the Greedy family. Victoria Hanna is nothing short of a phenomenon, a painter in sound and a master of language. As she explores the [...]

Today marks release day for a very special artist, who just recently joined the Greedy family. Victoria Hanna is nothing short of a phenomenon, a painter in sound and a master of language. As she explores the boundaries of the human voices, moving between ancient music and contemporary beats, between philosophical and religious texts, her compositions are shaped by diverse vocal techniques, both sung and spoken. 

Her self-entitled debut album then speaks volumes, featuring ten songs entirely her own and ranging from Kabbalistic rap to Aramaic hiphop and Israeli pop. Raised in an orthodox family and impaired by a stutter, Victoria Hanna embarked on an inner journey to explore the mouth as creator, which became the inspirational and emotional journey of her life.

"I come from a religious family in Jerusalem, where women were not permitted to sing in front of men. It wasn't considered modest. But my voice broke out of me, it was stronger than I was. I struggled with this for years. Something inside me believed that I was sinning. Today, I sing throughout the world – texts from the Kabbalistic tradition that were once the exclusive 'property' of men. I honour these texts, and attempt to convey them with love and respect," she explains.

"Victoria Hanna" the album is divided into two sections, two worlds she explores, namely voice and speech. Voice as being abstract, free in space and speech as something concrete, conceptual and rhythmic: "Victoria and Hanna are my two grandmothers, after whom I am named. They were both married as girls, against their will. Victoria – rebelled, stood up for herself, had a courageous heart and was revolutionary for me. Hanna – was withdrawn, served, surrendered and was my home and my heart. Part 1: Victoria – focusses on the power of speech and breaking it down into its component letters. This part of the album is rhythmic, danceable, for the night hours and is produced by Tamir Muskat (Balkan Beat Box). Part 2: Hanna – focusses on the voice that breaks through, the voice that calls. This part is melodic, music for the wee-hours. It was produced by sound artist Frank van der Weij."

You can listen to the full album via the SoundCloud player above or buy/stream it here. You might also want to check out this year's Elsewhere interview from WOMAD or watch another nice piece by YLE Finland below.

close
continue

Out Of Nations

A Sonic "Quest" For Humanity Before Nationality
 

In a world without borders, humanity comes before nationality. Such is the founding sentiment and raison d'être of the Berlin-based Out Of Nations collective, a message the seven-piece wishes to spread through its [...]

In a world without borders, humanity comes before nationality. Such is the founding sentiment and raison d'être of the Berlin-based Out Of Nations collective, a message the seven-piece wishes to spread through its music. "Out Of Nations is a dream for a future world, where people take each other as humans before they see each other as members of a certain nation," the band's bio reads. 

Inspired by the global repercussions of the Arab Spring, including a dramatic increase in xenophobia, border security and violence, their music reveals a different narrative and shares a new vision of World Music: "The band's futuristic take on world music challenges the normal custom that musicians performing music from non-Western parts of the world emphasise the difference of their home countries through traditional, exotic dress and performance. Out Of Nations instead performs in sleek futuristic garments, reflecting a post-racial, post-national future world."

At the centre of it all is reeds player and composer Lety ElNaggar, who herself was "born to Egyptian and Mexican immigrant parents in suburban America". Alongside producer Khalil Chahine, she decided to envelope her international heritage and experience in modern sounds, fusing organic and electronic elements from the Middle East and Latin America with pop, rock, funk, jazz – "a soundtrack to match the visual wonderland they create on stage".

The group's wonderful debut album "Quest" releases at the end of August on Riverboat Records / World Music Network. They perform live in Berlin on August 14th at ufa Fabrik. Click here for more details.

Feel free to check out "The Out Of Nations Story" below or listen to album track "Fiebre (feat. Juan Ospina)" in the SoundCloud player above. 

Out Of Nations are
Lety ElNaggar (reeds)
Jonas Cambien (keys)
Charis Karantzas (guitar)
Fabian Timm (bass)
Ayman Mabrouk (percussion)
Christian Tschuggnall (drums)
Khalil Chahine (producer, engineer)

close
continue

Quebra Cabeça

São Paulo's Bixiga 70 Announce Fourth Album

What a coincidence! So yesterday we walk by the Bixiga 70 poster in our office from their Berlin performance at YAAM in June, 2016. And we wonder if it wouldn't be about time for a new album. We visit their Twitter [...]

What a coincidence! So yesterday we walk by the Bixiga 70 poster in our office from their Berlin performance at YAAM in June, 2016. And we wonder if it wouldn't be about time for a new album. We visit their Twitter page, don't see any apparent news and move on to the next artist on our list. Then today, while browsing our timeline, we discover a post by Glitterbeat Records, announcing the collective's upcoming fourth album, to be released on October 12th! 

“From the very beginning, what we have always had in common is African-Brazilian music,” explains baritone sax player and flautist Cuca Ferreira. "Some of us come from candomblé (the African-Caribbean religion), others from jazz, reggae, dub, everything. The whole idea of the band has been to take all these different elements that form us, from Africa and Brazil, and create a hybrid from them.”

Since their 2015-released album "III", the acclaimed horns-driven ten-piece has been on the road, performing with established artists the likes of Pat Thomas, Orlando Julius or João Donato. These rich and new experiences have now made their way onto the group's forthcoming longplayer "Quebra Cabeça", which they claim is "more complex" and "different" than their previous arrangements.  

"Throughout though, the heartbeat of everything remains utterly African, refracted through the prism of the band’s home in the Bixiga neighbourhood of São Paulo. 'What we put on top of that is essentially urban São Paulo music,' Ferreira continues. 'This city has been a huge influence on us. It has that sense of urgency, always running to catch up. It’s expensive, and services are awful, with so much pollution and violence. But it’s our home and it was developed through immigration. Bixiga is where people come first of all. It’s always had that influx; it’s the story of São Paulo in miniature.'"

For now, we only got a preview of the album's title track, along with a trippy and somewhat sinister accompanying video, which you can see below. But through all the colourful complexity, Bixiga's vibrant, contemporary funk is still very much alive.

Bixiga 70 are
Chris Scabello - guitar 
Cuca Ferreira - baritone sax, flute 
Daniel Gralha - trumpet 
Décio 7 - drums 
Daniel Nogueira - tenor sax 
Douglas Antunes - trombone 
Marcelo Dworecki - bass 
Maurício Fleury - keyboards, guitar 
Rômulo Nardes - percussion

close
continue

Black Noise 2084

DJ Khalab Weaves Poly-Phonic Tapestry Of Displaced Sounds
 

Though rooted firmly in organic sounds and archaic rhythms, many of DJ Khalab's mind-warping productions have a futuristic feel to them. You might feel the urge to call it afro-futurism or future base or even jazz. [...]

Though rooted firmly in organic sounds and archaic rhythms, many of DJ Khalab's mind-warping productions have a futuristic feel to them. You might feel the urge to call it afro-futurism or future base or even jazz. Or how about "Black Noise 2084". That should fit quite well. 

"Black Noise 2084" is the title to Khalab's stupendous new album. Born Raffaele Constantino, a "renowned Italian radio host, producer, writer and artistic director", he decided to take on the role of DJ Khalab and "focus his attention on African music", as a devoted "beat marabout" and citizen of "planet Earth" on "an ongoing round trip journey between tribes and psyche, desert and spaceships, jungle and skyscrapers." You can read more on the transformation in a 2017 interview with Rhythm Passport

In any case, "Black Noise 2084" has cast its enigmatic spell on us. Flanked by feature artists the likes of Gabin Dabire, Tenesha The Wordsmith, Shabaka Hutchings, Tommaso Cappellato, Tamar Collocutor, Prince Buju, Clap! Clap! and Moses Boyd, the album is relentless in occupying afro-centic realms of sound both foreign and familiar. 

"Khalab was invited to work with field recordings from the archives of the Royal Museum for Central Africa of Bruxelles. The museum’s recordings made for a post-colonial World, hold ethnographic and historical insights into the cultures of the region over the last 500 years. The Museum is far from the horrors that Belgian King, Leopold II unleashed during his colonial reign, however it is a dark legacy that is far from absolved. ‘Black Noise 2084’ opens a portal where displaced rhythms, chants, screams and dreams collide with quaking bass, a vortex of shattering synths, jazz rains and emotion all amalgamate. Empires for millennia thrived across the African continent and Empires are being willed to rise."

Stream all 10 album tracks on Bandcamp and feel free to check out the beautifully animated video to "Dense" below. Out now via On The Corner Records! We’d also like to recommend DJ Khalab and Baba Sissoko’s “Music To… Urbanise Your Tribes To” mix for i-D, which you can listen to in the SoundCloud player above.

close
continue

A.E.I.O.U.

French Combo Cotonete Joins Forces With Di Melo For Brazilian Disco Burner

While picking up another batch of records recently, we happened to grab a copy of legendary Brazilian singer Roberto "Di Melo" Santos' dangerously catchy new single "A.E.I.O.U". Recorded in collaboration with French [...]

While picking up another batch of records recently, we happened to grab a copy of legendary Brazilian singer Roberto "Di Melo" Santos' dangerously catchy new single "A.E.I.O.U". Recorded in collaboration with French jazz pianist Florian Pellissier and his able combo Cotonete during a tour to Brasil,  "A.E.I.O.U" drops fourty years after Di Melo unveiled his classic self-entitled samba/soul LP. 

“We had a few days off in Sao Paulo and I really hoped to make a collaboration with an important artist or band from the Brazilian funk scene. We had thought of Marcos Valle, Meta Meta or Ed Motta... but our Brazilian 'sound engineer/genius' suggested Di Melo, saying he would be perfect for Cotonete. No sooner said than done. I'm a huge fan of Di Melo and had already tried to contact him for Cotonete 6 years ago. The next day, on a Sunday, he arrives at our house with Jo, his wife, and Gabi, his daughter. He takes the guitar in front of us in the kitchen, and gives us a private show of 3 hours… we cried the tears of joy. He had 400 original songs never recorded, a gold mine. On the same night, we started working the arrangements for 2 days, followed by a rehearsal and two small gigs in Sao Paulo. Immediately after, we recorded in the magical Epsilon B studio. All with the participation of Gabi, his 10-year-old daughter, and future star," Pellissier recounts. 

"A.E.O.I.U" is a serious Brazilian-French disco anthem that announces a full album, to follow early in 2019. Listen below or head over to Bandcamp for the actual release. In the meantime, never mind us, we'll just keep on dancing...

close
continue
more