Zamaan Ya Sukkar

25/04/2019Belgium's Radio Martiko Unearth Egyptian Crossover Sounds From The 1960s

Belgium's Radio Martiko, reissue label, DJ collective and provider of "global eclectic supersounds", has been on our radar ever since we started this 'greedy' little platform of ours back in 2015 and we already had the pleasure to share their fabulous 2016-released all-vinyl mixes of hard-to-find Turkish treats and rump-shaking Egyptian rarities. Needless to say, even though the Ghent-based collective has been anything but idle, we haven't reported on them in a while. Last week, while reading up on Egyptian legend Oum Kalthoum/Om Kalsoum, aka "The Rose of the Nile", we chanced upon their 2018-released vinyl/download compilation "Zaaman Ya Sukkar" and felt the strong urge to share, so here goes. 

Radio Martiko have spent the past five years travelling back and forth to Cairo, digging for records. Obviously, the material collected set the tone for this fantastic compilation of Egyptian music from the 60s, featuring remastered original 45s produced by state-run label Sono Cairo and "some forgotten souls of the Egyptian music scene and cinema world." The glamorous and uplifting selection is exotic in many ways. Of course, from a Western point of view, the term 'exotic' relates to music from faraway places, i.e. Oceania, Asia, Africa, Latin America or, last but not least, the Orient. Places that "provided a way for the listeners to wander off to an imaginary paradise and escape from their grey, daily routine."

What we in the West or Central Europe sometimes fail to realise is that for those faraway places mentioned above, the musical West often provided the same type of escape and "you can find examples of composers who approached music in a similar way as their Western counterparts. They created their own imaginary paradise by adopting musical influences from other cultures." Such are the musical crossover examples unearthed by Radio Martiko on "Zaaman Ya Sukkar". "What makes it interesting is that the Egyptian interpretations of the music from other ‘exotic’ countries are very similar in sound, then again very far from the musical traditions of the original country." We absolutely love this selection, but you best listen for yourselves.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom