Maghreb K7 Club

31/03/20Bongo Joe Records Drops A Vicious Compilation Of North African Synth Raï, Chaoui & Staifi (1985-1997)

Geneva-based 'fournisseur' of contemporary underground releases Les Disques Bongo Joe has just hit big in our books with its latest release, a sizzling compilation composed of Maghreb music straight from the cultural melting pot of – who would have guessed – Lyon. While we were well aware of France's colonial pursuits in North Africa and subsequent migration from these territories, this release positively blindsided us. It also happens to bear an incredible selection of vintage tunes and interludes from 1985-1997. 

In the 1950s, according to the liner notes, certain cafés in Lyon were social hubs for musicians from all over the Maghreb. "Individuals met up weekly, playing together and sharing their everyday life experience." But the cafés were also an ideal place to "conduct business," as in "getting booked for a wedding, a baptism, a gala, or a studio session." Consequently, these venues also played a key role concerning the development of popular music by France-based North Africans:

"The practice of music was cross-regional with different North African influences, but also with local traditions. These versatile musicians also absorbed new local influences: music within the context of immigration was a perfect school for musical cosmopolitanism." You may notice "how the musicians in this compilation brilliantly integrate raï or staifi tunes with disco aesthetics or funk guitar riffs," as their "repertoire naturally assimilated their era’s aesthetics and technologies."

Bongo Joe's "MAGHREB K7 CLUB – Synth Raï, Chaoui & Staifi 1985-1997" release is now available across all platforms and also comes as a limited vinyl and snazzy tote bag bundle on their Bandcamp page.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom