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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.

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Alyona Alyona

Sky’s The Limit For Ukraine's New Hiphop Sensation
 

In her native Ukraine, alyona alyona's debut album has already become the most anticipated release of 2019. And within just a few months, the young kindergarten teacher from a village on the outskirts of Kiev became [...]

In her native Ukraine, alyona alyona's debut album has already become the most anticipated release of 2019. And within just a few months, the young kindergarten teacher from a village on the outskirts of Kiev became an overnight hiphop sensation. We first chanced upon her in a post by her booking agency More Zvukov. And although we couldn't understand a word she was saying, we fell in love almost instantly.

It all began, when she released the first companion video to her song "Рибки" ("Fishes") last October, which went viral on YouTube and has meanwhile collected over a million views. “Fishes” was alyona alyona's claim to fame, the reason she is now widely considered to be the future of Ukrainian rap and has been nominated for a YUNA Award in 2019 ("Best Hiphop Hit"). But she is far from being just another one-hit wonder. 

alyona alyona has so far released several tracks with equally engaging companion videos. Her track "Залишаю свій дім" ("Leaving My Home") is a personal story about her move to the big city, namely Kiev, while the companion music video directed by Delta Arthur has meanwhile accumulated over 2.5 million views. The b&w video to her second single "Голови" ("Heads"), directed by Sasha Prilutsky, sees the hefty rapper jogging through the countryside, never once stopping to catch her breath. Her third single "Відчиняй" ("Open Up")is a powerful hiphop manifesto to a new generation, with a fresh video directed by Israeli director Jan Bolotov, who also cooked up this fun, David Lynch-esque video to "Рибки 2" ("Fishes 2").

There is something about alyona alyona that goes beyond her no doubt impressive appearance, her confident attitude, her captivating flow, her (assumed) lyrical prowess, her sound delivery or her kindergarten alter-ego. Her success may simply boil down to an innate sense of authenticity that provides her hiphop persona with the necessary street credibility the genre thrives on. That and obviously the talent and creativity she continuously displays in her music.

We expect to be seeing and hearing a lot more from her in the near future and can't wait to witness her live on stage in Europe. That being said, there is no doubt in our minds that alyona alyona's got next.

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Murphy's Law

The Jewish Monkeys Premiere Hilarious Music Video To New Single
Greedy

We warned you last Friday. The Jewish Monkeys are back and paving the road to their forthcoming third album "Catastrophic Life", to be released in autumn. Which also means new music for all of us. Isn't life a [...]

We warned you last Friday. The Jewish Monkeys are back and paving the road to their forthcoming third album "Catastrophic Life", to be released in autumn. Which also means new music for all of us. Isn't life a beauty?

"All the Great Things" is the band's new single and first track off the new album and it too celebrates life in all its absurdity. The single is a catchy, Balkan-infused ska punk track, which features the Jewish Monkeys' new horn section and an infectiously optimistic groove: "All the great things happen, when you least expect them to happen / They happen to distract you from the sh*t that happens, in your life / All the bad things happen 'cause you're waiting for them to happen / They happen when you open your arms and invite them, into your life."

Below you can now watch the recently unveiled official new companion video to "All the Great Things"; a hilarious compilation of fail videos, brilliantly narrated by Gael Zaidner, who reveals the simple truth behind Murphy's Law and recommends we quite simply accept all the 'great' things life has in store for all of us, as painful and unforeseeable as they may be. The band will be on tour in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic this March. Check here for a show near you. 

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All the Great Things

The Jewish Monkeys Announce New Single And Tour Dates
Greedy
 

Great news from our favourite band of primates: Following their support shows for the one and only Shantel and his Bucovina Club Orkestar back in November, the infamous Jewish Monkeys stopped 'monkeying around' and [...]

Great news from our favourite band of primates: Following their support shows for the one and only Shantel and his Bucovina Club Orkestar back in November, the infamous Jewish Monkeys stopped 'monkeying around' and headed back to their concrete jungle of Tel Aviv to work on album number three. Boasting a very promising title, "Catastrophic Life" is set to be released this fall. So stay put. 

And no, we are not about to leave you hanging. Of course we've brought a little something along to reward you curiosity. Releasing March 8th on International Women's Day is the band's fittingly entitled new single "All the Great Things", which you can listen to in the SoundCloud player above. And, in case you were wondering, yes, it is indeed great! We will also be unveiling the official music video shortly. Very shortly. 

Finally, seeing as all good things come in threes, the band will take their new single on the road and play a total of seven shows in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic from March 7th through March 14th. This will be your first opportunity to see the Jewish Monkeys' new lineup, including newly circumcised, um, we meant certified band members Eylon Tushiner (saxophone) and Yaron Ouzana (trombone), who will quite literally blow your minds with their funk- and afrobeat-inspired brass. Expect a reload of the band's satirical standards, Yiddish bangers and some unexpected musical additions! Gut Shabbes!

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Ofelaš / Pathfinder

Nils Gaup's Oscar-Nominated Sámi Classic Is Gifted A Live Soundtrack

Attention all you film and music lovers out there! Here's a little something that's a bit out of the ordinary for you. This Friday, February 8th, 2019, will see a live screening of a Norwegian/Sámi classic, aka [...]

Attention all you film and music lovers out there! Here's a little something that's a bit out of the ordinary for you. This Friday, February 8th, 2019, will see a live screening of a Norwegian/Sámi classic, aka director Nils Gaup's intense, Oscar-nominated, action-filled feature film Ofelaš / Pathfinder (1987) and, what's more, it will be accompanied by a live soundtrack. 

The film is "set on the Finnmarksvidda plateau" with the protagonist being "Aigin, a young Sámi hunter who sees his family massacred by Chudes, a tribe from the East, and swears revenge". Nils Gaup's epic drama with its archaic pictures will now be presented before the sonic backdrop of a grand musical score by composer/percussionist Jakop Janssonn. The music is contemporary, but remains rooted in Sámi tradition and will be performed live by the acclaimed ensemble of Janssonn himself, singer Marja H.F. Mortensson (vocals, joik), Vladislav Demin (violin), Magnus Wiik  (dobro, banjo, mandolin) and Torje Asali Jenssen (guitar). Janssonn and Mortensson are both currently nominated for a Nordic Music Prize.

This promises to be an extraordinary audio-visual event. You can visit the FB event page here or check out the official trailer below. We also have 2 tickets up for grabs on our FB page. So if you happen to be in Berlin this Friday, be quick and swing by the Babylon cinema at 20:00. And don't forget to grab some popcorn on the way in!

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Two Tribes

Agogo Records Presents: An Intercontinental Journey Into Rhythm

Today marks release day for the brand new "Two Tribes" compilation on Agogo Records, which embarks on "an intercontinental journey into rhythm". Compiled by Tobi Kirsch and Ubbo Gronewold, the 12-track selection [...]

Today marks release day for the brand new "Two Tribes" compilation on Agogo Records, which embarks on "an intercontinental journey into rhythm". Compiled by Tobi Kirsch and Ubbo Gronewold, the 12-track selection focusses on contemporary musicians in Europe incorporating African musical traditions into their own body of work. "Two Tribes" features "a broad range of constellations, ranging from musicians with roots in African countries who reside in Europe to collaborations between European and African artists", as it successfully attempts "to capture at least a part of the enormous diversity [this music] has to offer"

Tobi and Ubbo's undertaking is all the more relevant, seeing the amount of movement this genre is currently experiencing and the resulting necessity for quality curation. Consider "Two Tribes" a sort of snapshot, shining a light on modern-day compositions that bridge musical heritage and current club culture, be it organic or electronic.

Intrigued by what we heard and read about the project, we decided to sit down with Tobi and Ubbo to find out more. And here's what they had to say:

Greedy – Tell us a bit about yourselves...

Tobi – I've been a music publicist for the past 10 years and counting. I started as a radio host and music journalist in 1996 and have been DJ'ing since 1994. Ubbo is actually still a radio host at CaressCaress and for Jetztmusikfestival Mannheim as well as a great DJ and local promoter at Alte Feuerwache Mannheim.

G – How did this project come about?

T – The idea was to show how many different approaches are alive today, when it comes to music that is inspired by African rhythms. We've both been inspired by such cultural encounters for a long time. The compilation is about the two continents Africa and Europe, but the title can also be seen as a symbol for two different backgrounds and traditions in general, no matter where from, that meet to create something new and unique.

G – "Two Tribes" is a selection of contemporary European artists incorporating African influences, sounds, instruments or rhythmic patterns into their own productions. How is this more than yet another example of cultural appropriation?

T – I have the feeling that something new comes of it. I don't think it is simply cultural appropriation, especially when you pick artists like Selma [Uamusse] who is rooted in Mozambique. She just brings in her musical knowledge to Europe and creates something new and exciting.

Ubbo – Of course we are aware of the discussion you are hinting at. One has to be very careful and treat the history and musical heritage of other peoples with respect. So during the selection process we convinced ourselves that all the participating artists are doing exactly that and we can say that we have a clear conscience because all of them are examples of how to do it the right way!

G – How did you go about the selection process and which are your personal favourites? 

T – The selection process took a while. We had certain safe candidates like Onom Agemo & The Disco Jumpers. However, we had to leave other tracks out because they weren't finished on time or we couldn't license them. We wanted to have some exclusives. The idea behind the CD version was to have it work like a DJ set, ranging from slower songs to more uptempo ones you can easily dance to. We may have liked to add a Henrik Schwarz remix to the spectrum, but I think the final result is the best we could get. My personal favourite is the Aldubb remix of Blay Ambolley's "Walk for Ground". It's so trippy, I love it!

U – It's always really difficult to pick a favourite from your own compilation. Of course we like all the tunes (that's why we picked them, haha). Each one has its own handwriting, strength and relevance. One that is really special is "Just in a Moment to find a Way to Sun Day" by Raoul K. It's 15 minutes long (which is kind of the limit lengthwise for a compilation) and so hypnotic from beginning to end. Check this one out on a proper stereo system!

G – And lastly (for the fans), are you already planning a sequel?

T&U – Of course we are thinking about it! There is so much great music out there. We have enough tunes and ideas, also concerning remixes. We could easily start Volume 2.

You can stream/buy the new "Two Tribes" compilation via Agogo's Bandcamp page, which includes additional information on the tracks and artists selected. Also, check-out 2b fuzzy's exclusive "Two Tribes" promo mix on Mixcloud. And if you happen to be in Berlin next week on February 7th, stop by arkaoda in Neukölln for the official "Two Tribes" record release night, including Andrea Benini's "Drumphilia" live.

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Uzun Havalar

Kinship Records Restock On Anadol's Viscous Cosmic Synth-Pop Trip

Etkin Çekin's Berlin-based cassette label Kinship Records just restocked on Anadol's third album "Uzun Havalar" and it is pure lo-fi bliss. Named after an old-fashioned Turkish automobile brand, Anadol is the nom [...]

Etkin Çekin's Berlin-based cassette label Kinship Records just restocked on Anadol's third album "Uzun Havalar" and it is pure lo-fi bliss. Named after an old-fashioned Turkish automobile brand, Anadol is the nom de plume of an instrumental synth-pop project by equally Berlin-based artist, DJ and keyboard player Gözen Atila. 

"Uzun Havalar" is a term used to describe traditional Turkish folk music (halk müziği), but listening to the album's seven, intoxicatingly drawn-out tracks, the title could also be understood as a series of extended moments, musical molasses, viscous sounds transcending time and space. "Recorded and mixed in 2015 the album is built around three long synth tracks referring to the improvised unmetric folk songs 'uzun hava' in Middle Eastern music. You can hear drummers laughing and playing guitars, composers howling, screaming, record collectors playing synths, actors mumbling and tuning in to the geography of Anadol's synth compositions," the description reads. 

There is no pigeonholing the boundary-pushing, instrumental experimentations of Anadol, rich in playful curiosity, humorous hues and cosmic capacity, combining influences from Turkish folk, French movies, surf rock, jazz and so much more. You can buy/stream "Uzun Havalar" in full on Bandcamp or listen to her previous 2017-released album "Hatıralar" via Ankara's Inverted Spectrum Records. "Uzun Havalar" is also (finally) set to see a vinyl release on May 17th via Pingipung/Kinship. 

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Shortparis

Brace Yourselves For Russia's Latest Musical Revelation/Revolution
 

With a new album set for release this February, Shortparis are well on their way to deserved international acclaim and already being heralded as "the best Russian live act". Hailing from St. Petersburg and led by [...]

With a new album set for release this February, Shortparis are well on their way to deserved international acclaim and already being heralded as "the best Russian live act". Hailing from St. Petersburg and led by charismatic frontman Nikolay Komiagin, the band continues to build a reputation for its jaw-dropping ritualistic performances and dark, electronic soundscapes, as "irrational, spastic dance grooves" converge with "post-punk, experimental noise and acoustic chanson" to form a musical aesthetic that is one of a kind.

Performing in Russian, French and English, Shortparis are nothing short of a revelation as they aim to provide a fitting soundtrack to their everyday lives, a sound that mirrors St. Petersburg as it was and is. "You know, I constantly dream of coming across bands like Shortparis yet so rarely do," writes John Doran of The Quietus. "Ambitious, bombastic, incredibly pretentious, erotic, thrilling, impossible to pin down, vaguely deviant, fun to dance to and full of revolutionary potential. Sure, if you listen hard enough you can hear them laughing but you would be a fool to make the mistake of presuming that they’re joking." 

Their music videos are almost equally intense and leave room for interpretation. Take the companion visuals to "Страшно" (Strashno / transl. "Scary") for instance. The lyrics reflect a current state of anxiety as the visuals try to reveal a sort of ongoing hysteria. Only hours after filming at a school, someone called the police about possible terrorist activities: "Our music video is trying to manifest the state of some part of our generation. It is provocative and refers to some social tragedies, which are not reflected in our visual culture. Taboos and fears are opened up: no matter what is written in Arabic letters, 'love' or 'friendship', it must be terrorism, bald heads must mean nazis, and so on. But after all this play with meanings, only anxiety stays and it grows." 

Shortparis have performed and impressed at several renowned festivals across Europe (Germany, Poland, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Lithuania, Portugal) and are already confirmed for The Great Escape (UK) and Liverpool Sound City (UK), Donau Festival (A), Winter Beat (DK) and others in 2019. 

You can listen to their 2017-released album "ПАСХА" (Paskha / transl. "Easter") via the SoundCloud player above or visit their Bandcamp page for more. They recently featured on Arte TRACKS, which you can watch in full below.

Shortparis are
Vocals  – Nikolay Komiagin
Guitar, Synthesizer – Aleksandr Galianov
Drums, Sampling – Pavel Lesnikov
Guitar, Bass, Accordion – Aleksandr Ionin
Drums, Percussion – Danila Kholodkov

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London Remixed

A Live Music Culture Clash In The Heart Of The Capital

If you happen to be in London on February 1st and 2nd, you should definitely consider visiting this year's London Remixed Festival by the Global Local crew. Taking place on two days and on four stages at the Rich [...]

If you happen to be in London on February 1st and 2nd, you should definitely consider visiting this year's London Remixed Festival by the Global Local crew. Taking place on two days and on four stages at the Rich Mix art centre in Shoreditch, this live music culture clash showcases "the best in Latin Grooves, Afrobeats, Tropical Bass, Vintage-Remix, Desert Remix, Balkan Beats, Urban Roots, Acoustic Soundclash and Brass Band Remix".

The festival's main organisers Global Local are now in their 11th year of successfully creating events that aim "to provide professional performance opportunities to talented emerging artists from a wide range of cultures and communities". This year's festival will boast performances by over 25 bands, including ONIPA, Henge, Rum Buffalo, the London Remixed UK Garage Orchestra feat. the Blue Lion Band, Animanz, Malphino, The Brass Off, Gypsies of Bohemia and many more. Also, there will be a Disco Lift to navigate between stages as well as a Silent Disco café. 

Sounds like just the festival experience we love. And in case you are having second thoughts, check out the amazing atmosphere at last year's edition in the recap video below. Plus, it's indoors, so no risk of running into rainy weather. Get your tickets here

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Tunis Tapes

Brighton's Hive Mind Records Shares Vintage Tunisian Cassette Mix

Brighton is probably not the first place you'd suspect to be behind a mix of vintage Tunisian cassettes. The so-called London-by-the-sea is however home to Hive Mind Records, a quality imprint specialising in [...]

Brighton is probably not the first place you'd suspect to be behind a mix of vintage Tunisian cassettes. The so-called London-by-the-sea is however home to Hive Mind Records, a quality imprint specialising in "vintage and contemporary sounds from around the globe". Credit them for posthumously releasing an 8-track vinyl album of the late Maalem Mahmoud Gania's final studio recordings as well as a 30-minute cassette tribute to fellow Moroccan legend Moulay Ahmed El Hassani

To close out the year and keep our ears perked, Hive Mind decided to drop a one-hour tape mix on December 31st via their Bandcamp page, containing dusty pop and folk sounds from Tunisia. The description reads: "From raw traditional folk songs, featuring the head-spinning sound of the zukrah (an oboe like reed instrument also known as the ghaita or rhaita) and the bendir and darbouka hand drums, to more modern sounds that blend synths and drum machines with the more traditional instruments, this mix is guaranteed to blow the cobwebs from your mind."

Well it did, to say the least. The Tunis Tape Mix obviously comes equipped with a Side One and a Side Two. Both are available as a free download. The only thing missing is a tracklist. And though the first minutes were hard to stomach, these distant sounds started to grow on us. That is until the zukrah returned in full effect. But hey, we asked for it. Happy New Ear everyone!

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Kokoroko

London's Innovative Afrobeat Collective Is Keeping The Groove Alive, New EP Out Soon

We first chanced upon this eight-piece, London-based afrobeat collective about a year ago, when they premiered their sublime track "Abusey Junction", that featured on the 2018-released Brownswood Recordings [...]

We first chanced upon this eight-piece, London-based afrobeat collective about a year ago, when they premiered their sublime track "Abusey Junction", that featured on the 2018-released Brownswood Recordings compilation "We Out Here" and was just recently shortlisted for the upcoming "Gilles Peterson Worldwide Awards Track of the Year" (to take place this Saturday, January 19th at KOKO in London). In any case Kokoroko's is a music that travels, as the "all-star band featuring leading lights from the London jazz community" innovatively blends "West African roots with Inner-London hues"

Led by trumpeter Sheila Maurice-Grey, the group initially made a name for itself playing covers of artists the likes of Pat Thomas or Ebo Taylor, before eventually writing music of their own. "We love this music and want other people to love it the way we do," says percussionist Onome Ighamre. "We don't want this music to die."  In this vein, drawing on influences from West African Pentecostal churches, jazz and Western classical, Kokoroko's forthcoming, self-titled EP contains four tracks of stunning depth. 

"Uman" is the first track to be previewed. Opening with a pensive fanfare by the horn section, the track takes several turns and evolves into a "jubilant celebration of women, black women in particular," describes Maurice-Grey. "The track tackles the cultural trope of the 'black superwoman' and asks questions about why misrepresentations about black women exist. Ultimately, it's a redemptive track that makes space for both the unique struggles black women face, and their vulnerability." And we love it. You can listen to the track on Bandcamp or via the "Brownswood Basement Session" below. The "Kokoroko" EP releases March 8th, on Brownwood. They will also be performing live in Berlin for XJAZZ on May 9th. 

Kokoroko are:
Sheila Maurice-Grey (trumpet)
Cassie Kinoshi (saxophone)
Richie SeivWright (trombone)
Mutale Chashi (bass)
Oscar Jerome (guitar)
Yohan Kebede (keyboards)
Onome Ighamre (percussion)
Ayo Salawu (drums)

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FREYLEKHS'3000

Jewish Retro-Futurism Or Shake Your Tuches Like It's 2019
 

Have you ever wondered, what the Yiddish queens of swing, The Barry Sisters, might sound like today? Would they have gone for more of an R&B vibe? Or what kind of music would Mickey Katz be making, who humoured [...]

Have you ever wondered, what the Yiddish queens of swing, The Barry Sisters, might sound like today? Would they have gone for more of an R&B vibe? Or what kind of music would Mickey Katz be making, who humoured Jewish audiences with his musical parodies in the 1970s US of A? The newly established Berlin trio Freylekhs'3000 is here to answer the above and many more questions. Dubbed "Jewish Retro-Futurism", they combine klezmer, hiphop and Yiddish swing with potent beats to create a musical smorgasbord for groovers and thinkers alike. 

Freylekhs'3000 is yet another delectable project by the multi-talented Ukrainian Yuriy Gurzhy (RotFront, Shtetl Superstars Orchestra), whom we recently featured with his Disorientalists musical theatre venture. This time he's backed by Serbian and fellow Berlin-based producer Uros Petkovic (Shazalakazoo), whom you might remember aka DJ Uce from the Jewish Monkeys "High Words" remix,  and clarinettist Max Bakshish, Yuriy's colleague from the Emigrantski Ragamuffin collective RotFront, and leader of the legendary Bakshish Brass Band. 

After playing at the Jüdische Kulturwochen (Jewish Culture Weeks) in 2018 the trio is now getting ready to shake some serious tuches at Berlin's  P.A.N.D.A Theater on January 19th, 2019. See you there!

As a special warm-up, you can listen to “Kumbia Tradicion” by Freylekhs’3000 via the SoundCloud above or download it for free.

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Free Spirit

Liraz Features On ARTE
 

Late last year, while doing promo for her breathtaking new LP "Naz", Israeli model, singer, actress and songwriter Liraz was interviewed by Franco-German television network arte, the results of which were captured [...]

Late last year, while doing promo for her breathtaking new LP "Naz", Israeli model, singer, actress and songwriter Liraz was interviewed by Franco-German television network arte, the results of which were captured in a 2-minute clip, available on demand via arte.tv and entitled, "Liraz Charhi, chanteuse en liberté". 

The clip shows Liraz performing a short sequence in a gallery, while she provides some insight as to what inspired her album and why she decided to record this album in Farsi; a nod to her Iranian heritage. "Unfortunately I am no longer able to visit Iran. I thus decided to realise this project in order to explore my roots and myself as an artist," she explains. But the album is also a tribute to Iranian singers and female artists such as Googoosh or Ramesh, whose music was banned as a result of the Revolution, but who continued to perform outside of Iran.

You can watch the entire clip in French and in German from the following link. "Naz" is available to stream/buy on Bandcamp. Check Tel Aviv's Dead Sea Recordings for more info or listen to the album preview via the SoundCloud player above.

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