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Victoria Hanna

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

Jewish Monkeys

If you like the wilder klezmer bands, then step right up to the Monkeys.
(Folkworld Review 01/09/17) +

“Klezmer punk is what I was expecting and it is what this collective delivered. The pace is there, but there is a lighthearted nature to their approach, which keeps it fun and invigorating. So much gypsy punk is based on pace and energy with a certain craziness within. This has much of that, but it is far more relaxed and focused on melody, even with a slower song here and there. So if gypsy punk is something you are only half into, this may be the half you are looking for. And if you like the wilder klezmer bands, then step right up to the Monkeys.”
David Hintz, Folkworld Review, September 2017

A fine statement against the all too politically correct thinking.
(Written In Music 02/07/17) +

“A fine statement against the all too politically correct thinking, with a very nice soundtrack … This produces a very exciting, danceable album, which is undoubtedly worth seeing live.”
Philippe De Cleen, Written In Music, July 2, 2017

Anarcho-klezmer with a wink.
(Rebel Base / Tropicalidad 19/06/17) +

“The title track of this new album is an indictment of the establishment that is trying to appease the people with the kind of demagoguery we can still remember from the last world war, instead of focusing on real problems like inequality and ecology. But the fact they also have a lighter side, the band proves with ‘Alte Kacker’ (loosely translated: “old fart”), a cynical song about the ungracefulness of old age. Anarcho-klezmer with a wink!”
– Rebel Base (Belgium), June 19, 2017

Also available on: Tropicalidad (Belgium).

On ‘High Words’ the notorious klezmer punks take another swipe at a broad range of topics and deliver a satirical blow to any and all presumed taboos.
(Bayern 2 03/05/17) +

“On their new album ‘High Words’ the notorious klezmer punks take another swipe at a broad range of topics and deliver a satirical blow to any and all presumed taboos. This includes mercilessly self-pitying Yiddish songs dealing with old age (‘Alte Kacker’), anti-love songs such as ‘Pupik’ or title track ‘High Words’, detailing a righteous fury towards the establishment in the age of Global Warming, that is currently making a return to the demagoguery of the former World War era.”
Tobias Ruhland, BR.de, Bayern 2 (Bavarian radio), May 3, 2017

To try and pigeonhole them would be ridiculous.
(Musikexpress 01/05/17) +

“Album number two by the Israeli Balkan/Klezmer/Punk band once again lays proof to the fact that trying to pigeonhole them would be ridiculous… They manage to turn their fragmented identity in a unique pop statement, while masterfully riding diverse genres as they do languages, dialects and topics.”
4,5 / 5 stars, Thomas Winkler, Musikexpress, 05/2017

Here you have a bunch of creative individualists making completely unorthodox music.
(konkret 01/05/17) +

“Here you have a bunch of creative individualists, two of whom met in the Frankfurt synagogue’s boys’ choir in the ’70s, making completely unorthodox music. And even though their musical blend of punk, jazz, rock, Balkan beats and klezmer is suitable for the masses, their provocative lyrics, a mix of English, Yiddish, Hebrew and German, are filled with (self-)irony and address a more particular kind of listener. Their songs are hardly the material most Yiddish-speakers, seculars or the ultra-Orthodox would relate to. This in part is also due to the fact that their Yiddish is not authentic, but rather a stylistic device to transport folklore and Jewish tradition.”
– konkret Magazin (Monthly publication), 05/2017

The Jewish Monkeys are never malevolent, as they wrap their pungent lyrics in a fine blend of vintage cabaret, folk punk rock and anarchic speed klezmer
(Westzeit 01/05/17) +

“And they are still as audacious as ever: politicians, women, compatriots, no one is spared. Much less the gentiles. That being said, the Jewish Monkeys are never malevolent, as they wrap their pungent lyrics (‘I Wonder’) in a fine blend of vintage cabaret, folk punk rock and anarchic speed klezmer.”
– Karsten Zimalla, Westzeit magazine, 05/2017

Their uptempo songs are forceful and dirty, basking in the glow of their corny ballads.
(Deutschlandfunk Corso 22/04/17) +

“Klezmer, punk rock, Balkan sounds: The Jewish Monkeys deliver another great album alias ‘High Words’. Their essence is not actually political, but they do love satire. Anything that crosses their path is ridiculed. Their uptempo songs are forceful and dirty, basking in the glow of their corny ballads. Once on stage they include bouts of improvisation on guitar or trombone. Music you can really dance to.”
DLF Corso (National German Radio), April 22, 2017

If this is what the proverbial post-midlife dance sounds like, then I do not want to be one bit younger.
(Plärrer Stadtmagazin Augsburg 01/04/17) +

“If the Jewish Monkeys’ beat is what the proverbial post-midlife dance sounds like, then I do not want to be one bit younger.”
Plärrer, Augsburg (Local monthly magazine), April 2017

When played live, this vibrant mix releases an energy akin to a punk rock show
(OX 01/04/17) +

“Musically the Israelis blend ska, pop, klezmer and Balkan sounds. When played live, this vibrant mix releases an energy reminiscent of a punk rock show.”
– OX Magazin Nr. 131 (Hardcore fanzine), 04/05/2017

A wildly danceable mix of klezmer, punk and circus music, paired with uninhibited satirical lyrics.
(taz, Die Tageszeitung 11/03/17) +

“A wildly danceable mix of klezmer, punk and circus music, paired with uninhibited satirical lyrics.”
taz, Die Tageszeitung (German daily), March 11, 2017

Great. Stunning. A unanimous exaltation.
(Darmstädter Echo 10/03/17) +

“Loud, snotty, blunt: these musicians want to provoke. Jewish Monkeys concerts are fun  and never cease to entertain, baffle or even confuse audiences… Great. Stunning. A unanimous exaltation.”
– Darmstädter Echo (Local daily), March 10, 2017

Such is the group’s nonconformity that dictates their every move, starting with their choice of music.
(musikansich.de 09/03/17) +

“That the Jewish Monkeys are not ones to stick to the many conventions of the music business is no longer news to the well-informed. Such is the group’s nonconformity that dictates their every move, starting with their choice of music: Their self-determined brand of klezmer punk will meet any three-chord aficionado’s expectations, but equally cause nervous palpitations among klezmer lovers. Punk in this regard is the band’s said nonconformity, though paired with a hunger for the most diverse musical surprises, feeding on multiple styles, take Balkan elements for instance… That being said, their entire setlist comprises just three songs in a major key, the rest is minor. But their innate ability to turn that into a cheerful live event lays further proof to the fact that this is not your ordinary band, making them all the more valuable. If you get a chance, go see them!”
Roland Ludwig, musikansich.de, March 9, 2017

Their autonomous mix of klezmer, punk, rock, Balkan music and pop is nothing less than an extraordinary circus act.
(Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung 08/03/17) +

“Merry, socio-critical, cutting, highly frivolous and politically incorrect are ways you may choose to describe their songs. Oh and filled with innuendos. As the accordion squeezes out Europe’s final countdown, revealing hidden quotes from the Beatles, their melodies stir up memories. This wild bunch from Tel Aviv, comprising eight musicians in all, sings in Yiddish and English. Eight men and just as many musical influences. At least. Their autonomous mix of klezmer, punk, rock, Balkan music and pop is nothing less than an extraordinary circus act.”
– Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung, March 8, 2017

From the Frankfurt boys' choir to Israel and back: Their music is thrilling as ever.
(Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung 05/03/17) +

“From the Frankfurt boys’ choir to Israel and back: The Jewish Monkeys continue to baffle German audiences with their cheerfully frivolous brand of klezmer punk. Following a change in lineup, the still eight-man combo delivers another stellar album with High Words. Once again, the band digs deep into the profound Jewish tradition. Take ‘Titina’ for instance, a modern-day reinterpretation of the 1917 original, later used by Charlie Chaplin in his iconic film ‘Modern Times’. While ‘Romania’ pays homage to and equally mocks the glorification of Eastern European folklore, tracks such as ‘Post Midlife Dance’ or ‘Alte Kacker’ are gloriously self-deprecating. Their music is thrilling as ever.”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (biggest German Sunday paper), March 5, 2017

Anarchists like the Marx Brothers the Jewish Monkeys are anything but kosher.
(Journal Frankfurt 01/03/17) +

“Tel Aviv’s impious rock & rollers see themselves as ‘Darwin’s final dillusion, the Jewish missing link of evolution’. Anarchists like the Marx Brothers they are anything but kosher. And although their two frontmen Jossi Reich and Roni Boiko originally met as choir boys in Frankfurt’s Westend synagogue, they were always more drawn to disco. The politically incorrect Jewish Monkeys are more than your ordinary klezmer punks.”
– Journal Frankfurt (Local magazine), 03/2017

No time to get all sentimental.
(AUDIO 31/03/16) +

“On ‘Mania Regressia’ the Jewish Monkeys demand listeners leave their sentiments at the door. The Tel Aviv trash combo employs an aggressive mix of cabaret, circus marches, Frank Zappa-ish horseplay and klezmer punk to shock its audiences, Jews and non-Jews alike.” – AUDIO, 04/2016

Building a Cultural Bridge between Tel Aviv and Dresden – An official statement
(Greedy for Best Music 21/01/16) +

“The concerts were a wonderful experience for the band. It was very moving to see how this ‘guerrilla event’ could magically transform the faces of these tired, fearful, uprooted and traumatised people. Young men danced the Dabke (a popular line dance in Syria) to old Yiddish songs and beaming children experienced their first rock concert. After the show they stormed the stage to touch the drums and guitars in awe. Careful at first, the band did not let the public know they were from Tel Aviv, however, some of the band members delighted their listeners with Arabic greetings and phrases of gratitude. During conversations with the public, when asked, ‘where do you come from?’, one of the band members, said: ‘Tel Aviv’. This answer did not cause animosity, but joy and surprise.”

– Greedy for Best Music

Hard times for a band specializing in klezmer-rock. A tour diary
(Die Welt 24/11/15) +

“Cooped up in a minivan, though way more comfortable than being in one of those cattle wagons from back in the days heading East, we embark towards our next destination, a street festival in Dresden. Upon arrival we face a small stage blaring Arab rap music for a bunch of belligerent looking adolescents, jumping up and down and waving their fists in the air. Then it’s our turn. We step on stage, Boiko and I share an awkward smile with the crowd, while Gael refreshes his Arabic. It all goes down as expected: They absolutely love us, singing along to our Yiddish ‘dai, dai, dais’ and dancing Dabke as if at an oriental wedding. It was delirious.”

– Jossi Reich, Die WELT (German daily)

In the end, entertainment wins.
(Badische Neueste Nachrichten 16/09/14) +

They pulled all the stops at their gig, engaging head and heart alike. They get people on their feet with familiar Balkan folk sounds and get them listening with complex rock arrangements and melancholic laments. How to describe Jewish Monkeys? A political band? Pure entertainment? Both? In the end, entertainment wins. The room is owned by ecstatic dancers.

– Badische Neueste Nachrichten

A fantastic live band in the spirit of punk
(Süddeutsche Zeitung 15/09/14) +

Jewish Monkeys pluck the flowers for their bouquet of clichés from a luxuriant garden of neuroses, burgeoning with self-irony, over-indulgent mothers and inferiority complexes. They are provocative, hounding their listeners out of their comfort zones and making them dance. Because this Klezmer ensemble living in the fast lane is first and foremost a fantastic live band in the spirit of punk. The trombone fires hot salvos at the singers while the guitar’s insistent off-beat rhythm pushes the band in the direction of Ska. Their live performance is overwhelming in its furiously unchained attack on tradition. At the anarchistic climax of the evening, Reich, Boiko and Zaidner launch Harry Belafonte’s famous Banana Boat off towards the Middle East, to bring peace to the region at last.

– Süddeutsche Zeitung (one of Germany’s leading dailies)

A Sense of Nonsense: the Anarcho-Klezmer Band Jewish Monkeys!
(Deutschlandfunk Corso 10/09/14) +

A Sense of Nonsense: the Anarcho-Klezmer Band Jewish Monkeys!

– Deutschlandfunk Corso(national German radio)

Shades of cinematic heroes such as Woody Allen
(Franfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 05/09/14) +

They ridicule the obscenities of international relations with the same tongue-in-cheek attitude they adopt toward their own culture, with a healthy mix of sophistication and anarchy. Shades of cinematic heroes such as Woody Allen, with an added dose of high-calibre party mood.

– Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany’s leading daily)

Mildly disturbed eternal adolescents
(Spiegel Online 05/09/14) +

The Jewish Monkeys‘ album Mania Regressia plays on Jewish clichés and anti-Semitic reality. This post-Klezmer, post-Pop, post-Alija band from Tel Aviv has created an album brimming with love, rage and joy that reveals just how they are themselves: mildly disturbed eternal adolescents with a soundtrack for the panic attacks of our time. All of which makes Mania Regressia more than just music to listen to – from old and obscure songs with new geopolitical fire, such as Caravan Petrol or the satirical hit Johnny is the Goy for Me – and instead a rollicking, joyful, despairing peal of laughter on the margins of the western world.

– Spiegel Online (Germany’s No. 1 political news website)

Spirited, disrespectful, Jewish humour at its finest
(3Sat Kulturzeit 03/09/14) +

Spirited, disrespectful, Jewish humour at its finest. A wild, cult-worthy mix of Klezmer, Balkan and Rock.

– 3Sat Kulturzeit (TV channel for Austria/Switzerland/Germany)

Trashy hits with lyrics that tumble helter-skelter between Yiddish and English
(Kulturnews 01/09/14) +

Their love songs are delightfully filthy, full of unexpected emotions and virtuoso hilarity. Jewish Monkeys wallow in trashy hits with lyrics that tumble helter-skelter between Yiddish and English. A truly international line-up!

– Kulturnews(Germany’s largest culture mag)

An eagle eye on what is happening in the here and now
(Deutschlandfunk 29/08/14) +

They really do have some political cheek – highly critical, with an eagle eye on what is happening in the here and now. They make music that cuts to the quick, and that’s what I find so exciting: really good, thought-provoking lyrics. 

– Martin Kranz, Director of the Jewish Cultural Days, Berlin

If Hitler hadn’t nearly won the war
(Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung 06/07/14) +

If Hitler hadn’t nearly won the war, Jewish music would sound like this: naturally stoned, fast, and madly melancholic.

– Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (biggest German Sunday paper)

Racing polka beats, calypso, rumba and gutter blues redolent of Tom Waits
(Nürnberger Nachrichten 18/03/14) +

The incredible Jewish Monkeys from Israel epitomise the inexhaustible experimental drive of Jewish music. Jewish Monkeys manage, seemingly effortlessly, to transpose Yiddish songs into an impressive alternative World pop context worthy of any indie rock festival. Racing polka beats, calypso, rumba and gutter blues redolent of Tom Waits, with a dash of trombone, accordion and a distinctive guitar twang give the three singers plenty of dynamic impetus to launch their wackily irreverent, witty songs. Energetic fun that fires up the audience to fever pitch.

– Nürnberger Nachrichten (biggest Bavarian daily)

Roof-raising, rambunctious rock
(Nordbayerische Zeitung 17/03/14) +

Roof-raising, rambunctious rock by the Jewish Monkeys – three singers at once, like animators moderating between pop and funk, with a smattering of traditional songs.

– Nordbayerische Zeitung (Bavarian local daily)

A satirical emancipatory coup
(Fürther Nachrichten 17/03/14) +

The Jewish Monkeys from Tel Aviv unleash a satirical emancipatory coup at the Kulturforum with a show verging on cabaret. Tapping into the tonal syntax of the present day, klezmer strikes on a contemporary note. And the audience spontaneously goes along with it, as evidenced by their enthusiastic participation.

– Fürther Nachrichten (Bavarian local daily)

Whatever people say they are, that's what they're not
(Haaretz 07/01/14) +

At an age when most people retire, these guys are releasing their debut album – in English, Spanish, Esperanto and Yiddish. […] When three middle-aged men perform with wild abandon on stage, it’s clear to anyone watching that they have to conduct a restrained family life for the rest of the year. This is not a supergroup composed of rock stars who first came to prominence in the 1970s, nor is it a choir project of the neighborhood community center. Despite the men’s ages, the Jewish Monkeys (are) a young band at heart, whose members prove that you’re never too old to start performing.

– Ha’aretz (Israeli daily)

MÃLØX

Klezmer and Caribbean rhythms meet film scores.
(Celtic-Folk-Punk Blog 27/03/13) +

“They play their own music in which klezmer and Caribbean rhythms meet film scores. There are no vocals, but they don’t need them. Their music is intended for dancing and they create atmospheres.” – Celtic-Folk-Punk Blog 

From Balkan motives to cat's wailing.
(Habama 21/10/12) +

“MALOX – Eyal Talmudi’s crazy and impossible duet generates totally energetic music that fills the stage from Klezmer to Jazz. Warm and round sounds blend in distorted sounds. From Balkan motives to cat’s wailing. A crazy yet fascinating act” – Amos Oren, Habama

Referencing the Klezmer legacy.
(All About Jazz 11/01/08) +

“The bulk of Talmudi’s original compositions reference the Klezmer legacy. His energetic arrangements spice them up with updated sonic elements, including a bit of thick, and dub-influenced sax choir” – Eyal Hareuveni, All About Jazz

Seitō {青鞜}

Akuphone Compiles Seven-Track Experimental Album Of Contemporary Female Artists From Japan

Paris-based label Akuphone, created by Fabrice Géry (aka Cheb Gero) in 2015, has made a name for itself with an abundance of rare and striking releases of global pop and folk, including Praed's "Doomsday Survival [...]

Paris-based label Akuphone, created by Fabrice Géry (aka Cheb Gero) in 2015, has made a name for itself with an abundance of rare and striking releases of global pop and folk, including Praed's "Doomsday Survival Kit", Mushapata's "Saba-Saba Fighting", Balinese funerary music on "Gamelan Beleganjur" or Kink Gong's "Tibetan Buddhism Trip". 

Back in June, the label released a fascinating compilation of contemporary "Japanese female artists from various electronic and experimental music fields", featuring a selection of seven tracks all recorded between 2017 and 2019. "Seitō: In the Beginning, Woman Was the Sun" derives its title from "a cult feminist magazine printed in Japan in the 1910s" and presents a trip-inducing cross-section of the Japanese underground music scene with a host of trailblazing female protagonists.

This far-out compilation kicks off with a "gloomy folk song" by Fuki-Yuki, which almost seamlessly merges into a "haunted dub tune" by Kiki Hitomi, then moves on to more danceable realms behind a formidable deep house cannon by Mikado Koko, only to be followed by a spacey "electroacoustic performance", the noisy avant-garde folk vibes of Kakushin Nishihara, an trance-inducing "oriental psych blend" by Kuunatic and finally "Keiko Higuchi's 9-minute cover of classic Japanese folk song Okesa Bushi." You can watch the album preview or stream the full release below.

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Alefa Madagascar

Strut Records Drops Compilation Of Salegy, Soukous & Soul From The Red Island (1974-1984)

Strut Records continues its essential compilation series of Indian Ocean sounds with "Alefa Madagascar", the first compilation to document the unique culture of salegy, soukous and soul on the island during the [...]

Strut Records continues its essential compilation series of Indian Ocean sounds with "Alefa Madagascar", the first compilation to document the unique culture of salegy, soukous and soul on the island during the ‘70s and ‘80s. The selection, made by Réunionese DJs La Basse Tropicale and Percy Yip Tong (Mauritius) reveals the enormous diversity of sounds produced on the East African island from 1974-1984, many of them by the influential Charles Maurin Poty. 

"Originating as far back as the 15th Century through folkloric ceremonial music and an a cappella chanting style called antsa, salegy emerged as a fast- tempoed local dance style based on 6/8 and 12/8 rhythms. By the ‘60s, radio was bringing in new sounds from the Congo, Mozambique, South Africa and Kenya and Jean Francois de Comarmond’s Discomad label championed a new generation of artists breaking the mould with their own new fusions of styles as electric instruments replaced the traditional. The strong call-and- response dialogues, rich vocal choruses and rolling triplet feel in the rhythm sections all boasted a unique Malagasy sensibility and singles started selling tens of thousands of copies, rivalling any foreign music at the time," the album notes read. 

"Alefa Magagascar! Salegy, Soucous & Soul from the Red Island" presents 18 energetic tracks from a prolific era that shaped much of the popular  Malagasy music heard today, pioneered by artists and bands including Roger Georges, Jean Kely et Basth, Los Matadores, Mahaleo, the Terak'Anosy Group and many more. You can stream the full release via the Bandcamp player below. 

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Poli-ritmo

Internal N.Y. Rhythms' Debut EP On Optimo Music Is A Deeply Polyrhythmic Affair

Apparently there is a story to every song. Not just a story that reveals how the song came to be, but also a story that explains, how or when the song was first heard. For us it was about two months ago, on a bike, [...]

Apparently there is a story to every song. Not just a story that reveals how the song came to be, but also a story that explains, how or when the song was first heard. For us it was about two months ago, on a bike, listening to the Worldwide FM playlist, when we first heard of Portuguese producer/DJ Bruno Deodato's Internal N.Y. Rhythms project. 

It turned out, that the mesmerising, shaker-ridden firecracker of a tune we had just listened to was "Poli-ritmo II" off the "Poli-ritmo EP" released on JD Twitch's Glasgow-based imprint Optimo Music back in April. The EP consists of three, "dubbed out rhythm & bass tracks" that are sure to wreak havoc on the dancefloor. 

"Poli-ritmo I" and "Poli-ritmo II" are deeply satisfying polyrhythmic pursuits in tropical attire. While the first leads the way with a killer bassline and iMessenger-style 'pling' effect, the latter is an even niftier matter: "The EP sashays from the shakers, snaky bass and psychedelic electronics of ‘Poli-Ritmo I’ to emphasise the clipped clave patterns in ‘Poli-Ritmo II’, and then follow a rugged tribal hunch into the crunchy drums and nagging drone of ‘Futurismo’," the Boomkat review reads. You can stream the full release via the Bandcamp player below.

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Chimera

The Gökhan Sürer Quartet Presents A Fresh Take On Oriental Jazz

It's all about that jazz! Our most recent find comes by ways of Lausanne, Switzerland-based label Rocafort Records, whom we last covered a few weeks back for Kokoro Disco-San's "Isla Fantasià", a two-track [...]

It's all about that jazz! Our most recent find comes by ways of Lausanne, Switzerland-based label Rocafort Records, whom we last covered a few weeks back for Kokoro Disco-San's "Isla Fantasià", a two-track sun-drenched 45 that instantly struck a chord with us. Their latest release is a truly international affair, led by young Turkish pianist, composer and arranger Göhkan Sürer. 

The Gökhan Sürer Quartet consists of musicians from Mexico, Serbia, Catalonia and Turkey and is currently reshaping the oriental jazz genre. Their brand new "Chimera EP" sounds "like the soundtrack to a modern mythological journey across all sides of the Mediterranean and beyond. Anatolian magic is woven throughout the four titles, most of them filled with an elegant urgency and tension in the rhythmic composition with the intention of giving a modern jazz twist to Turkish and Armenian melodies along with elements of rock, funk and reggae." 

As the four tracks unfold behind Gökhan Sürer's inventive keyboard explorations in the vein of Chick Corea, attentive listeners will find themselves constantly questioning their whereabouts on this stimulating journey across time and continents. "It’s not a three-minute listen, but rather a sumptuous aural adventure complete with chirping crickets and Byzantian mystery," the EP notes read. You can listen to the full release below. 

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Onipa

Afrofuturist Duo Releases Two New Summer Singles & Music Video

This has been long overdue and seeing as summer is still alive and kicking here in Berlin, we thought now would be a good time to introduce you to ONIPA, a highly combustible collaboration between Ghanaian vocalist [...]

This has been long overdue and seeing as summer is still alive and kicking here in Berlin, we thought now would be a good time to introduce you to ONIPA, a highly combustible collaboration between Ghanaian vocalist KOG (of KOG and the Zongo Brigade) and UK producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Tom Excell (founder and band-leader of acclaimed afro-jazz project Nubiyan Twist). ONIPA first popped onto our radar in 2018, when they delivered their dancefloor-ready, afro-disco-infused debut EP "Open My Eyes" on Wormfood Records / Mawimbi and followed that up with an equally potent set of remixes.

"Drawing on a wide range of influences, including Ghanaian highlife, Congolese soukous, Mali blues, South African Shangaan electro & Township music, Nigerian afro-disco and Moroccan Gnawa combined with UK dance music, jazz and hiphop," Onipa (meaning 'human' in the Akan language) were quick to impress their mark on the global scene. A few weeks back, the duo released two powerful new summer singles.

"Maadi3" is an instant Ghanaian highlife classic, paired with modern production, catchy vocals and irresistible grooves, while "My Way" kicks off with a hypnotic flute loop and intricate rhythmic patterns, before KOG takes matters into his own hands: “This track started life as a vocal chant, then guitars doubled the vocal line to create a heavy, riff based, trance-like, hypnotic, repetitious feel. From there we formed the groove, a mix between dancehall and afrobeat rhythms, giving the framework for raga vocals, floaty electronics and Malian guitar interspersions," Tom Excell details.

"My Way" comes equipped with an official companion music video, which you can watch below. To stream/buy both releases, simply head over to Bandcamp.

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Motel Lazy

Istanbul Beatmaker Ozoyo Delivers Therapeutic Full-Length On Threefinger

Nearing the month of September and quite possibly the autumn season, this day finds us in a mellow mood. Summer was golden and continues to present itself in lush attire. And as we think back on those lovely, hazy [...]

Nearing the month of September and quite possibly the autumn season, this day finds us in a mellow mood. Summer was golden and continues to present itself in lush attire. And as we think back on those lovely, hazy moments, Istanbul-based beatsmith Ozoyo's debut full-length is just what the doctor prescribed. 

Following on the heels of his previous three EP releases "Wanderlust" (2016), "Lost Beats" (2018), and "333" (2018), Ozoyo is back to present his 15-track vacation-themed album. "Motel Lazy" is music to our ears and brimful with organic vibes, lo-fi beats and smoky samples. In other words, Ozoyo's sound is sunscreen for the 'dolce far niente'-soul.  

So stake out your favourite lounge chair, make sure that umbrella is in place and a cool drink in reach and enjoy your timeout for as long as it lasts. You can listen to the entire release over on the Threefinger Bandcamp page, with further contributions from the ranks of Wun Two, Jinsang, Engelwood and Mujo. Happy holidays!

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To Freedom's Defense

200,000 Euros For A Three-Year Freemuse & Roskilde Partnership In Ongoing Struggle For Global Artistic Freedom
Greedy

Born out of the very first World Conference on Music and censorship back in 1998, Freemuse"an independent international membership organisation advocating and defending freedom of expression" in music across the [...]

Born out of the very first World Conference on Music and censorship back in 1998, Freemuse"an independent international membership organisation advocating and defending freedom of expression" in music across the globe, continues to play a major role in exposing worldwide inequalities. Their regular newsletter keeps subscribers up to date on current affairs, namely transgressions or encroachments on artistic freedom and basic human rights.  

Early in July, Freemuse made the news, when it announced that the renowned Danish Roskilde Festival had donated 1.500.000 Danish Crowns (which corresponds to approximately 200,000 Euros) to ensure that the organisation can pursue its invaluable activities in the artistic realm. In fact, the Roskilde team published an official statement on the festival's website, sharing its motivation to partner with Freemuse for the next three years in the "fight for the global right to artistic and creative freedom of speech." 

The statement reads: "Everyone should have the right to express oneself creatively and artistically. But we know this isn't the case. It's a fundamental human right, and yet it's challenged in many countries. Roskilde Festival believes in communities, and we believe in the role of art in the community. Art and music create communities, move people, show new ways." 

At this year's Roskilde Festival, Freemuse launched a call-to-membership for its Artistic Freedom Defenders Network (abbr. AFDN), conceived as a global network tasked with doing as its name implies. The AFDN is an ambassador programme to create "a community of artists, activists, NGO's, professionals, students and everyone who is interested in – and supports – artistic freedom. It's an opportunity to connect, exchange ideas and help make the world a safer space to express oneself." 

The Freemuse-Roskilde partnership comes at a time, when censorship remains a critical issue for many individuals around the world. These are times to build like-minded alliances, but also to call attention and lend a voice to those, whose freedom and most fundamental human rights continue to be violated. It's a pressing call for solidarity in an age of increasing division and alienation and a world steadily building walls rather than tearing them down. But more importantly, "it's an opportunity to connect, exchange ideas and help make the world a safer space to express oneself," the festival declares.

We at Greedy for Best Music and our colleagues at FAIRPLANET are proud to support and encourage you to join the cause at artisticfreedomdefenders.org. Feel free to share!

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Bahasa

Young Marco Explores The Spirit Of Indonesia On Sophomore Album

Who would have thought that we'd venture into the club circuit, but Dutch DJ/producer Young Marco's latest full-length on Island Of The Gods Records left us no choice and you'll be quick to understand why. Some five [...]

Who would have thought that we'd venture into the club circuit, but Dutch DJ/producer Young Marco's latest full-length on Island Of The Gods Records left us no choice and you'll be quick to understand why. Some five years ago, the Bali-based imprint invited Marco Sterk alias Young Marco to visit the islands of Indonesia, including Bali, and immerse himself in the indigenous culture that is still present there to this day. Marco, whose late grandfather happened to be born and raised in Indonesia, willingly accepted the opportunity to 'return to his roots'.

And so, Marco set out to explore and "capture the spirit, ambience and atmosphere of the islands," in order to contribute to the label's "Island Explorer" album series. "A number of sessions were arranged, recording gamelan, gong and bamboo musicians from nearby temples. Island instruments and organic sounds meeting Marcos drum machines and synthesisers in a number of improvised jam sessions. Field recordings were also gathered from jungles, the ocean and wildlife, capturing both the ambient and chaotic side of life in Indonesia," the album notes read. 

Marco returned to his Amsterdam studio, where he later incorporated these sounds and recordings into his own contemporary, electronic forms of musical expression. Five years later, or rather last July, he finally released his sophomore LP with appearances from Mike Kivits (aka Aardvark), Jonny Nash (1/3 of Gaussian Curve) and The Desa Babakan Gamelan Ensemble. "Bahasa" is a lush, deeply meditative affair, "a typically sweet-natured and breezy collection of ambient tradewinds and colourful rhythmic plumage" – a transpacific encounter to forge lasting spiritual bonds.

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Demolición

Munster Records Releases The Complete Recordings Of Los Saicos, Peru's Pioneers Of Punk

After latching on to Radio Martiko's latest "Java Surf" 7" release a few weeks back, we were overjoyed to stumble upon influential Peruvian garage rock / proto-punk band Los Saicos. Widely and arguably considered to [...]

After latching on to Radio Martiko's latest "Java Surf" 7" release a few weeks back, we were overjoyed to stumble upon influential Peruvian garage rock / proto-punk band Los Saicos. Widely and arguably considered to be the global pioneers of punk, the band is definitely one of the most original and influential Latin American band of the 1960's. 

Formed in 1964 in their native Lima, Peru, Erwin FloresCésar “Papi” CastrillónRolando “El Chino” Carpio and Francisco “Pancho” Guevara served up "a raw, wild and visceral sound" that took Latin America by storm. That is until the group parted ways again some two years later. And that is until a new generation of music lovers picked up on the band's vintage recordings and Los Saicos (at least the surviving members) actually reunited in 2006 to play a couple of shows. 

Los Saicos released a total of six singles between 1965 and 1966, all of which were now compiled onto one release by Madrid-based independent record label Munster Records. "¡Demolición! The Complete Recordings" features said 12 tracks by Los Saicos that shall not go unheard. In 2011 the documentary film "Saicomania" was released and in 2013 Noisey did a 13-minute special on the band, which you can watch below. 

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Ikhlas

Singaporean Freeform Producer Fauxe Explores Past & Present Styles Of Malaysian Music
 

Originally released in an extremely limited run of 50 cassettes on Chinabot in 2018, Singaporean experimental hiphop and freeform producer Fauxe's album "Ikhlas" popped onto our radar just recently. In June The [...]

Originally released in an extremely limited run of 50 cassettes on Chinabot in 2018, Singaporean experimental hiphop and freeform producer Fauxe's album "Ikhlas" popped onto our radar just recently. In June The Analog Vault readied the album's first vinyl pressing and we felt this record needed to be heard by a wider audience.   

Why's that? Well, for starters, Fauxe has a knack for pushing supposed boundaries, combining different styles and experimenting with sounds to create something that we feel is highly original and deserves respect. Drawing from an eight-month visit to Malaysia in 2017, exploring the Kuala Lumpur music scene and collecting samples from "traditional Malaysian Tamil and Hawaiian Malay music," Fauxe began to "recontextualise" the project through "hiphop, disco and breakbeat-inspired textures." 

"Ikhlas", meaning 'sincerity' in the Malay language, is a groove-ridden, danceable 30-minute "ode to Malaysia and its sonic legacy." Or as Fauxe puts it: "Singapore and Malaysia to me had always been two different places. Right now it feels like we have always been one. I hope the music brings about a certain understanding and appreciation of what both countries share." And with that message in mind, we sincerely invite you to stream the full album via the SoundCloud player above or on Bandcamp

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Loé Loá

First-Time Vinyl Release Of Betsayda Machado & La Parranda El Clavo's Rural, Afro-Venezuelan Recordings

We doubt you'd disagree, when we say that Betsayda Machado is quite literally the life of the party or Parrando, a traditional Venezuelan genre. In fact, she is widely considered "the voice of Venezuela." Hailing [...]

We doubt you'd disagree, when we say that Betsayda Machado is quite literally the life of the party or Parrando, a traditional Venezuelan genre. In fact, she is widely considered "the voice of Venezuela." Hailing from the small town of El Clavo in the Barlovento province, Betsayda was practically raised by the local percussion and voice ensemble La Parranda El Clavo, whom she still plays with to this day.

"For nearly 30 years they've performed at town festivities, funerals and celebrations, preserving the style of Tambor, a cultural legacy of African slaves brought to work in the cocoa plantations." After having relocated to the capital city of Caracas in her early twenties, Betsayda returned to her small hometown in 2016 along with her producer and recorded a couple of sessions with La Parranda. 

The result of which appeared on CD/digitally in 2017 and gathered momentum as the group toured North America. A few weeks ago, Olindo Records released "Loé Loá – Rural Recordings Under the Mango Tree" on vinyl for the very first time and it is one great listen. Betsayda's remarkable voice takes the lead as La Parranda joins in to deliver "a spirit-shaking percussion and voice fiesta" rooted in Afro-Venezuelan traditions, spiritual, nostalgic and thoroughly yet positively haunting.

"However, not every song is about joy and celebration as the band often sing about many of the most painful topics of daily life in Venezuela, as prevalent in 2019 as they were in 2017 when originally released: hunger, poverty, and shortages of basic medicine," the Bandcamp liner notes read. 

You can stream/buy the full release here or watch their 14-minute appearance on NPR's Tiny Desk series below. 

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Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Real World Records Releases A Remarkable 1985 Live Recording Of The Legendary Qawwal

On July 20th, 1985, sometime 'round midnight, the late and legendary Pakistani vocalist Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and his party took to the stage at WOMAD Festival in Mersea Island, Essex and delivered a performance for [...]

On July 20th, 1985, sometime 'round midnight, the late and legendary Pakistani vocalist Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and his party took to the stage at WOMAD Festival in Mersea Island, Essex and delivered a performance for the ages. Now, 34 years later, Real World Records (a record label founded by WOMAD and Peter Gabriel in 1989) has released the carefully restored and digitised original recordings to celebrate its very own 30th anniversary. And what a release this is: 

"Looking back, it's impossible to over-estimate the significance of this moment of musical history. [...] The group sat cross-legged in two rows and for some minutes there was a silent pause. What unfolded over the following hours stunned the audience. And it impressed upon Nusrat his remarkable skill at communicating with audiences from a different culture and language and with no understanding of the deep and ancient traditions of qawwali music," the liner notes read.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is widely considered a musical phenomenon as well as the greatest qawwal of all time, who transfixed millions with his powerful voice and exuberant nature; up until his untimely death in 1997 at the age of 48. Qawwali is a Sufi Muslim form of devotional music, which is said to have originated in 12-century Persia and spread across India and South Asia and is "characterised by simple melodies, forceful rhythms, and energetic improvisations that encourage a state of euphoria in the listener." 

Although there is no shortage of recordings by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, "Live At WOMAD 1985" is a remarkable one. Or as Anastasia Tsioulcas put it for NPR: "Even now, more than 20 years after his death in 1997, there's no dearth of opportunities to hear his work, through a combination of sheer popularity, an enormous official discography, and literally thousands of pirated versions. All in all, no one has been suffering for lack for recordings of this Pakistani vocal master of qawwali, a staggeringly beautiful and ecstatic musical form."

Real World Records picked four songs from the 1985 concert for this "raw and visceral" live recording, including a 21-minute version of "Allah Ho Allah Ho", a 25-minute version of "Haq Ali Ali" as well as the songs "Shahbaaz Qalandar" and "Biba Sada Dil Mor De", each over 9 minutes long. Whether you are a first-time listener or a longtime fan, this magical release is bound to move you.

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