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The power of language is immeasurable. It guides our thoughts, perceptions and emotions. Its precious instrument is the voice, through whose power and vocal intensity it comes to full fruition. Combining these aspects is a high art that few can accomplish.

Victoria Hanna is truly a phenomenon. The Israeli artist has set herself the aim of creating an integral artwork of language, voice and music. And she has achieved that to a most astonishing degree. Victoria [...]

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Tracks

Victoria Hanna

Aleph Bet / Hoshana 
22 Letters 
Orayta 
Sheharhoret 
Ani Yeshena 
Kala Dekalya 
Hayoshevet Baganim 
Sha'arei Tziyon 
Yonati 
Asher Yatzar 
videos

Official Videos

Victoria Hanna – "22 Letters"
Victoria Hanna – "The Aleph Bet Song (Hosha'ana)"

Live Videos

Victoria Hanna – "Voicing Space, Sensing Speech" (TEDx Hackney Women)
Victoria Hanna – Workshop w/ Bobby McFerrin
Victoria Hanna – "The Aleph Bet Song (Hosha'ana)" (Live)
press
Israeli singer explores the space between rebellion and servitude.
(Songlines 01/01/19) +

“Israeli singer explores the space between rebellion and servitude – But there is more to the album than the juxtaposition between Victoria and Hanna. It delves into the very nature of the human voice, playing on the Kabbalistic differentiation between dibor (speech) and kal (voice). As Victoria Hanna says: ‘Voice is abstract… Speech is concrete.’
– Asher Breuer-Weil, Songlines, #144, Jan./Feb. 2019

Hanna is blessed with one of those voices that demands full attention, holding audiences rapt with her acrobatic voice and leaving mouths agape.
(Time Out New York 01/06/18) +

“Hanna is blessed with one of those voices that demands full attention, holding audiences rapt with her acrobatic voice and leaving mouths agape.”
Time Out New York

If Bjork was Middle Eastern, she might sound something like Victoria Hanna. She is magically chameleonic.
(New York Music Daily 21/04/18) +

“If Bjork was Middle Eastern, she might sound something like Victoria Hanna. You don’t have to speak Hebrew to fall under her spell. She electrified a sold-out crowd. She is magically chameleonic.”
New York Music Daily

Victoria Hanna is the freshest, edgiest, weirdest artist on the Israeli airwaves today. How did she reach that status? By singing — the alphabet!
(PRI The World 23/02/15) +

“Victoria Hanna is the freshest, edgiest, weirdest artist on the Israeli airwaves today. How did she reach that status? By singing — the alphabet!”
– Daniel Estrin, PRI The World, 2015

Related posts

Top Of The World

UK's Songlines Magazine Awards Victoria Hanna's Debut Five-Star Review
Greedy
 

After just recently receiving the German Record Critics' Award Israeli phenomenon Victoria Hanna's eponymous debut longplayer was just reviewed for the forthcoming January/February 2019 issue (#144) of UK's [...]

After just recently receiving the German Record Critics' Award Israeli phenomenon Victoria Hanna's eponymous debut longplayer was just reviewed for the forthcoming January/February 2019 issue (#144) of UK's Songlines magazine, where it received a highly gratifying five-star review along with the coveted "Top Of The World" label. 

Here's the entire review by Asher Breuer-Weil, which fills our hearts with joy: 

>> Israeli singer explores the space between rebellion and servitude

Victoria Hanna was born into an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family deep in the heart of Jerusalem. On one side of the family tree she had a grandmother named Victoria, a rebellious woman who stood up to the servitude of women in the Orthodox community, and on the other side she had Hanna, a woman far more withdrawn and submissive to her fate. Both, she says, were deeply important figures in her life.

The album embraces these two personalities. The first five songs are like Victoria: bold and dramatic, underpinned by wild drum beats and punchy Hebrew raps. The final five songs resemble the gentler Hanna, stripping back the compositions with singing over soft string and piano melodies. As can be heard on the aptly-named 'Kala Dekalya' (Voice of All Voices), the purity of her singing is simply breathtaking.

But there is more to the album than the juxtaposition between Victoria and Hanna. It delves into the very nature of the human voice, playing on the Kabbalistic differentiation between dibor (speech) and kal (voice). As Victoria Hanna says: 'Voice is abstract... Speech is concrete.' Her rapping of the Hebrew alphabet on one song conveys the concreteness of speech, while the unspeakable beauty of her singing also shows how fluid it can be. <<

If you haven't yet, you can listen to the entire album via the SoundCloud player above or stream/buy here

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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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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.

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22 Letters

Victoria Hanna Opens Conference Of Hebrew Language With 'Book Of Creation'

A few days ago, Israeli vocal artist Victoria Hanna, whom you may remember from her hiphop-tinged exploration of the Hebrew alphabet, opened a Conference for Hebrew Language with her acclaimed, kabbalistic "Book of [...]

A few days ago, Israeli vocal artist Victoria Hanna, whom you may remember from her hiphop-tinged exploration of the Hebrew alphabet, opened a Conference for Hebrew Language with her acclaimed, kabbalistic "Book of Creation" / "22 Letters" performance, which you absolutely need to watch. We actually have three videos to share with you. Here's the video she just posted of said opening and for those non-Hebrew speakers among us, here's her lecture / performance at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art from back in September of 2016 with English subtitles. And of course, last but not least, below you will find the official music video of "22 Letters" that will also feature on Victoria Hanna's eagerly awaited debut album. More to come... 

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Aleph-bet

Victoria Hanna On A Hiphop-Tinged Exploration Of The Hebrew Alphabet
 

From the hands of APE Records' label-head and drummer-extraordinaire Tamir Muskat (Balkan Beat Bot) comes one of our favourite productions of 2015, namely Israeli vocal artist Victoria Hanna's musical rendition of [...]

From the hands of APE Records' label-head and drummer-extraordinaire Tamir Muskat (Balkan Beat Bot) comes one of our favourite productions of 2015, namely Israeli vocal artist Victoria Hanna's musical rendition of the Hebrew Alphabet, in a mesmerising video that went viral and generated over half a million YouTube views to date. 

The video shows Hanna standing in front of an all-girls classroom, as she begins to recite the Hebrew letters one by one, while her students echo her chants. The lesson turns into a downright mantra as Hanna switches from teacher to student in multiple parallel roles, before the entire song diverges into the prayer for rain, from the Hoshanot service in the Sukkot liturgy. 

Hanna (a stage name) herself, has been fascinated, not to say obsessed with letters and words from an early age. Born into an orthodox Jewish family in Jerusalem, with a Persian mother and Egyptian father (a rabbi), she spent her childhood surrounded by books, but plagued by a heavy stutter. In trying to overcome her handicap she quite literally immersed herself in the world of letters.

“When you look at the letters, you’re not only looking for meaning. You actually drink the letters with your eyes. In the Jewish tradition the letters are not separated from the meaning and that meaning is not separated from the physical existence or the sound [of those letters].” – Victoria Hanna during a demonstration of Hebrew vowels at a conference in Jerusalem. 

Her obvious fixation and the reason for her deserved success is now brought to life in her vividly engaging video to "The Aleph-bet song (Hosha'ana)", which sees her delivering an edgy and highly expressive spoken-word performance over a catchy Tamir Muskat-produced drum beat. 

This is the first single off her soon-to-be-released debut album. Watch the video below and hear her express her letter-scentric thoughts in the player above.

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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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Georgian Grooves

Re-listening To DJ Scientist's Epic 2014 Mix
 

We never stop digging for extraordinary tunes from around the globe. So when Laid Back Radio popped up in our News Feed a few days ago, teasing DJ Scientist's brand new mix of "German Boogie Essentials", we were all [...]

We never stop digging for extraordinary tunes from around the globe. So when Laid Back Radio popped up in our News Feed a few days ago, teasing DJ Scientist's brand new mix of "German Boogie Essentials", we were all the more surprised to discover his previous mix of Georgian Groove Essentials. 

Originally released as a free download in December 2014, DJ Scientist's epic "The Georgian Groove Essentials" mix was realised as part of a series of Soviet Groove mixes, leading up to his "The Soviet Tape" release alongside Fulgeance, and features material released on Soviet state label Melodiya: "This time my attempt was to cover some of Georgia's unique musical output from the 70s and 80s. I hope you enjoy the distinct Georgian flavour in the songs, mostly recognisable in the traditional rhythmic and melodic approaches in the vocals. Furthermore, Georgia’s Pop music had strong influences from Jazz and Rock, and musicians from the small Caucasian country weren’t shy of using western compositions and adaptations on their, always state-controlled, albums. This amalgamation of styles makes it one of the most wonderful music relics from the Soviet era," DJ Scientist explains. 

DJ Scientist, aka Günter Stöppel, has been on our radar for quite some time now, ever since he dropped his stupendous "Godly Grooves" mixes in collaboration with DJ Arok back in 2009. The avid record collector, DJ and former Equinox record label owner from Munich/Berlin never fails to deliver. That being said, enjoy his selection of Georgian Grooves Essentials via the SoundCloud player above, or head straight to LaidBack's Mixcloud for his German Boogie Essentials and more musical goodness. DJ Scientist also just announced that he is currently working on a vinyl guide in book form with record collector Christoph Rexa and designer/publisher Thorsten Breyer called "Boogie by Accident". 

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uKanDanZ

Franco-Ethiopian Group Readies Rocking Album Number Three

2019 is off to a rocking start as we present you album number three by Franco-Ethiopian group uKanDanZ, entitled "Yeketelale". Releasing on Buda Musique, the band was originally discovered by Francis Falceto and [...]

2019 is off to a rocking start as we present you album number three by Franco-Ethiopian group uKanDanZ, entitled "Yeketelale". Releasing on Buda Musique, the band was originally discovered by Francis Falceto and invited to perform at the “Ethiopian International Music Festival” in Ethiopia alongside charismatic veteran singer Asnake Guebreyes. 

From that moment on, uKanDanZ have thrilled countless audiences with their "heady brew of rock energy, saxophone zigzags, [hypnotic Ethiopian grooves] and crazy stage performances". After "Yechelal" (It's Possible) and "Awo" (Yes), here comes their latest 9-track feat "Yeketelale" ("It Continues"), as Damien Cluzel (guitars), Lionel Martin (tenor sax), Adrien Spirli (synth bass), Yann Lemeunier (drums) and Asnake Guebreyes "take on new colours and a new dimension, [...] more danceable than ever".

You can watch the companion music video to powerful opener "Gesse" below, which contains some great archival Super 8 footage, or simply buy/stream the full album via Bandcamp. Time to get moving, a new year awaits!

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Oy Oy Emine

Falling In Love With Derya Yıldırım & Grup Şimşek's Catchy New Single

The "outernational pop-group" and Anatolian psych-pop sensation Derya Yıldırım & Grup Şimşek are back with new double-sided 7-inch single, released earlier this month on Bongo Joe Records

Following in the [...]

The "outernational pop-group" and Anatolian psych-pop sensation Derya Yıldırım & Grup Şimşek are back with new double-sided 7-inch single, released earlier this month on Bongo Joe Records

Following in the footsteps of their beautiful debut EP "Nem Kaldı" and their one-off "Üç Kız Bir Ana" release on Ironhand Records, the Hamburg-based five-piece is back with another traditional Turkish tune, a catchy lovesong about "about a man's mad love for a beautiful woman called Emine". Lead by Derya Yıldırım's superb voice, the track features the bağlama, wah-wah guitars, acid synthesizers and a dynamic rhythm section. "Oy Oy Emine" is also accompanied by a music video, which you can watch below. 

On the B-side we find an original track called "Kürk", which is more of a slow groover, folky, trippy and spacious. You can stream/buy both tracks on Bandcamp. The group is currently readying its debut full-length for 2019. We will be sure to keep you posted.

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Top Of The World

UK's Songlines Magazine Awards Victoria Hanna's Debut Five-Star Review
Greedy
 

After just recently receiving the German Record Critics' Award Israeli phenomenon Victoria Hanna's eponymous debut longplayer was just reviewed for the forthcoming January/February 2019 issue (#144) of UK's [...]

After just recently receiving the German Record Critics' Award Israeli phenomenon Victoria Hanna's eponymous debut longplayer was just reviewed for the forthcoming January/February 2019 issue (#144) of UK's Songlines magazine, where it received a highly gratifying five-star review along with the coveted "Top Of The World" label. 

Here's the entire review by Asher Breuer-Weil, which fills our hearts with joy: 

>> Israeli singer explores the space between rebellion and servitude

Victoria Hanna was born into an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family deep in the heart of Jerusalem. On one side of the family tree she had a grandmother named Victoria, a rebellious woman who stood up to the servitude of women in the Orthodox community, and on the other side she had Hanna, a woman far more withdrawn and submissive to her fate. Both, she says, were deeply important figures in her life.

The album embraces these two personalities. The first five songs are like Victoria: bold and dramatic, underpinned by wild drum beats and punchy Hebrew raps. The final five songs resemble the gentler Hanna, stripping back the compositions with singing over soft string and piano melodies. As can be heard on the aptly-named 'Kala Dekalya' (Voice of All Voices), the purity of her singing is simply breathtaking.

But there is more to the album than the juxtaposition between Victoria and Hanna. It delves into the very nature of the human voice, playing on the Kabbalistic differentiation between dibor (speech) and kal (voice). As Victoria Hanna says: 'Voice is abstract... Speech is concrete.' Her rapping of the Hebrew alphabet on one song conveys the concreteness of speech, while the unspeakable beauty of her singing also shows how fluid it can be. <<

If you haven't yet, you can listen to the entire album via the SoundCloud player above or stream/buy here

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Doomsday Survival Kit

Lebanese Psych-Duo Praed Unleashes Another Batch Of Electronic Chaabi
 

Yes, we are entranced. Initially drawn in by Lebanese artist Raphaëlle Macaron's trippy cover design, we gave the new Akuphone-release a concentrated listen and were absolutely wowed. "Doomsday Survival Kit" is [...]

Yes, we are entranced. Initially drawn in by Lebanese artist Raphaëlle Macaron's trippy cover design, we gave the new Akuphone-release a concentrated listen and were absolutely wowed. "Doomsday Survival Kit" is just what these chaotic times demand and Lebanese duo PRAED timely delivers its fourth album to answer the call. As expressed in the liner notes, "this is the ultimate kit to calmly prepare for the sixth extinction!". Seems about right. 

Paed Conca and Raed Yassin deliver a heady, electronically enhanced take on and "raging interpretation of" chaabi (meaning folk), which refers to different genres of popular Arab music typically found in North Africa and frequently heard at weddings or festive celebrations. Aided by synthesizers, drum machines, samples and other devices, the duo mesmerisingly explores the genre's "interconnectedness with other psychedelic and hypnotic musical genres in the world, such as free jazz, space jazz and psychedelic rock among others," basically all things trance-inducing. 

Founded in 2006, Paed Conca (on clarinet, electric bass and electronics) and Raed Yassin (on keyboards, laptop, electronics and vocals) have toured the globe extensively, regularly taking unsuspecting crowds by surprise and quickly establishing a sort of sonic delirium (positively speaking), as Paed's clarinet and Raed's vocals take center stage. It all sounds so familiar and uncannily fresh at the same time and we quite frankly cannot say we've heard anything quite like it before. What a trip?!

You can stream/buy the album in full here on Bandcamp or listen to the album preview in the SoundCloud player above. A limited pink vinyl + poster edition of 300 releases on January 14th, 2019. 

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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 A 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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