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Press

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

Cantos Campesinos

Olindo Records Complete Trilogy Of Venezuelan 45s With EP By Isaac Sasson

This Friday marks release day for part three of the Venezuelan trilogy of 45s on Olindo Records. The series started back in 2017 with the release of "Abeja b/w Black & Decker" by Monsalve Y Los Forajidos, was [...]

This Friday marks release day for part three of the Venezuelan trilogy of 45s on Olindo Records. The series started back in 2017 with the release of "Abeja b/w Black & Decker" by Monsalve Y Los Forajidos, was followed by Insólito UniVerso's "Vuelve b/w Décima" in 2018 and now concludes with Isaac Sasson's "Cantos Campesinos".

The EP features two original, folkloric compositions by Caracas-based multi-instrumentalist and composer Isaac Sasson, which previously appeared on his self-released 2017 album "Memorias del canto campesino", as well as a remix by London producer and drummer Hector Plimmer (Albert's Favourites). 

On Side A we find the short composition "Paseo en un sueño", a dreamlike tune, riding the melodic flute of Tomasito Garcia, before we are carried away by "Canción para mi familia, Venezuela", "a sort of mantra prayer dedicated to Venezuela and Isaac's family an friends; it's spiraling guitar riff and various percussion instruments quickly descending towards a chaotic state of bliss", the description reads.

The flipside features Hector Plimmer's remix of Sasson's "Cantos Campesinos": "Hector retunes the rhythm to his purposes, building tension and borrowing a bell sound to raise it even further, before releasing a skittering drum pattern, [eventually] adding sensual synth chords a flute-like synth solo to complete this musical trip." 

Isaac Sasson's "Cantos Campesinos" releases today. Head over to the Olinda Records Bandcamp page to stream/buy the release in full. There will also be a limited run of 300 vinyl records available. 

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Slavic Spirits

Polish Jazz Septet EABS Teams Up With Tenderlonious On New Contemporary Jazz Album

Hailing from the city of Wrocław, Polish seven-piece EABS (Electro Acoustic Beat Sessions) just released a new full-length of original material. Two years after their well-received debut album "Repetitions (Letters [...]

Hailing from the city of Wrocław, Polish seven-piece EABS (Electro Acoustic Beat Sessions) just released a new full-length of original material. Two years after their well-received debut album "Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda)", paying homage to Polish Jazz legend Krzysztof Komeda, the group continues their free and spirited approach to "blending traditional Polish Jazz with sounds from other genres, thus creating a new and personal interpretation of modern jazz. EABS have created their unique compositions by employing an approach exercising the idea of 'reconstruction from deconstruction' where sampling and looping are merged with jazz improvisations." 

On "Slavic Spirits", EABS set out "in search of Slavic melancholy" and are joined by none other than London producer, "saxophone renegade and flute enthusiast" Tenderlonious: "The material is an attempt to radically break out of the status quo of national mythology which currently steers the collective imagination of the Polish society. The musicians turned to Slavic mythology and Polish demonology, while pondering upon the contemporary spiritual condition of Poles. [...] Slavic Spirits is an endeavour to get in touch with the world of a long- and brutally lost culture which, due to lack of sources, will never be thoroughly explored."

This also explains the album titles, i.e. "Ciemność" (Darkness) to "Przywitanie Słońca" (Sun Worship). Head over to Bandcamp for the full 44-minute experience that is "Slavic Spirits", a brilliantly atmospheric, somewhat challenging yet highly engaging tour de force in the spirit of jazz. Out now on Astigmatic Records

EABS are
Marek Pędziwiatr (Nordiska Bambino piano, Fender Rhodes MKII, Minimoog Voyager, Crumar Performer, Physharmonica E. Krauss Stuttgard, Korg Polysix, Roland DC-30 analog chorus echo)
Marcin Rak (drums)
Vojto Monteur (electric guitar) 
Paweł Stachowiak (bass guitar) 
Spisek Jednego (percussion, sound fx) 
Olaf Węgier (tenor saxophone) 
Jakub Kurek (trumpet)
Tenderlonious (flute, soprano saxophone)

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DIY Disco Molam

Bangkok's Zudrangma Records Releases Exceptional Compilation Of Khaen Sang Rarities

Say what?! We were instantly captivated by the sounds of this new compilation on Bangkok's Zudrangma Records, once again expertly put together by Chris Menist and Nattapon Siangsukon, aka Maft Sai, of Paradise [...]

Say what?! We were instantly captivated by the sounds of this new compilation on Bangkok's Zudrangma Records, once again expertly put together by Chris Menist and Nattapon Siangsukon, aka Maft Sai, of Paradise Bangkok fame. "DIY Disco Molam" presents an exceptional collection of catchy experimental molam tunes by Thai producer Soonthorn Chairatanachot, "previously only released  as a short run of 45s on his private label Khaen Sang and featuring only members of his family." 

Instantly intrigued by his music, Chris Menist and Maft Sai decided to pick their favourites and put them back into circulation with another stunning record (make sure you also check out their recently released "Suphanburi Soul" compilation): "The sparse production style immediately marked it out from other molam we had unearthed through hours of searching. [...] The records felt so ahead of their time, though whether this was intentional or not is hard to pinpoint." 

Soonthorn Chairatanachot was born in 1938 in Sarakham, a town in the north-eastern district of Isan. Both his paernets were famous molam singers and he was trained from a young age, while also learning to play the khaen mouth organ. His talent showed early on and he began to perform publicly at age twelve. During his military service in 1957 he performed on a military radio station and thereby became known "to an even wider audience." 

After a brief stint as a monk, "he joined Sun Thirat Pirom, one of Thailand’s longest running music collectives," and continued to hone his skills. "Whilst he had a huge following as a live musician he’d never released any music, and through a friend, who had a recording studio and a tape echo, he embarked on what would ultimately be his only recordings, using family members on instrument and vocal duties. It is here that an unanswered mystery begins - no one is sure when the recordings were made, or what inspired their unique sound." 

Soonthorn Chairatanachot passed away in 2004, but his musical legacy remains and sounds as modern as ever. You can stream/buy the full "DIY Disco Molam" release on the Zudrangma Records Bandcamp page and we strongly advise you do. 

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Yenkyi Taxi

Crudo Volta Teams Up With Hagan In Newish Mini-Doc On The Contemporary Ghanaian Music Scene

Building on the success of their 2016 collaborative short documentary "Woza Taxi" (on the South African club music genre Gqom) Rome's Crudo Volta collective set out on another trip in August 2017 to visit Ghana and [...]

Building on the success of their 2016 collaborative short documentary "Woza Taxi" (on the South African club music genre Gqom) Rome's Crudo Volta collective set out on another trip in August 2017 to visit Ghana and produce the follow-up "Yenkyi Taxi", covering the contemporary Ghanaian music scene alongside music producer Hagan.

In the film, Hagan recalls growing up in a Ghanaian home in London, being raised in two cultures, listening to the radio, including stations like Rinse FM, where he first discovered the UK Funky genre. "At one point I realised that this UK funky sound is so similar to music I'd grown up with like Highlife and all the Ghanaian rhythms and all the drums...the drum patterns were very similar. And I felt like it was important to understand, where this has all come from."

Thus, the team flew to Ghana to meet with contemporary producers there, including Gafacci (Akwaaba/Enchufada) and Rvdical The Kid (Soulection / Flow Fi), to find out how they fuse African and electronic music in a culture obsessed with dancing: "You know when you go to France, they have their croissants...In Africa it's dancing, in Ghana especially it's dancing. So the dance thing is what drives me to add these elements into my music," says Gafacci.

However, the team also explores the religious side to Ghanaian music culture, i.e. gospel or church music. "Now we also get a lot of our music from religion," explains Professor (owner of Vivivi Studios). "Some traditional songs have their own rhythms. When you listen to the music that is played at the shrines, the traditional religious places, you get a lot of inspiration from the rhythms. [...] These are rhythms that have remained the same over the years."

You can watch "Yenkyi Taxi" in full via the YouTube video below and make sure to watch "Woza Taxi" as well. In a recent Facebook post, the Crudo Volta crew also announced that the "Taxi" miniseries will continue shortly, covering the music scenes of Addis Ababa, Maputo and Lagos, so stay tuned! Unfortunately for us, the new episodes were produced by Italian streaming platform TimVision and will not be available on YouTube.

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Made In Amharica

Tel Aviv's Gili Yalo Releases New Four-Tracker On Dead Sea Recordings
 

Earlier this year, the phenomenal Ethiopian-born and now Tel-Aviv-based artist Gili Yalo unveiled "Sew Lesew", the first precursor to his brand new four-track EP "Made in Amharica", now out on Dead Sea Recordings. [...]

Earlier this year, the phenomenal Ethiopian-born and now Tel-Aviv-based artist Gili Yalo unveiled "Sew Lesew", the first precursor to his brand new four-track EP "Made in Amharica", now out on Dead Sea Recordings. The spellbinding track, accompanied by an equally enticing companion video, promotes the basic principle of being a 'mensch' (a decent human being), "its lyrics reflecting the issue of immigration and refugees, of borders, discrimination and newcomers." Like most of his music, "Sew Lesew" emodies his own personal story, seeing as Gili Yalo himself arrived in Israel as part of what is today known as 'Operation Moses', "the covert evacuation of Ethiopian Jews from Sudan during a famine in 1984." 

Building on the success of his 2018-released, self-titled debut LP, Yalo toured the world, gathering well-deserved critical and popular acclaim and wowing audiences with his undeniable on-stage presence. His travels eventually brought him to the United States of America, where he teamed up with Niles City Sound (the Grammy-nominated team behind Leon Bridges' "Coming Home" LP, i.e. Josh Block, Austin Jenkins and Chris Vivion) to record his new EP "Made in Amharica" in their high-end, vintage-equipped recording studios in Forth Worth, Dallas.

"Made in Amharica" is a play on words: Amharic being the language of the Ethiopian people and 'Amharica' being the place this project became a reality. Singing in both English and Amharic, Gili Yalo brings together two distinct worlds, combining a modern approach to his Ethiopian roots with influences from funk, jazz, rock and a whole lotta soul. You can stream/buy the full release over on Bandcamp or listen in the SoundCloud player above.

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Give & Take

Ukraine's DakhaBrakha Are At The Forefront Of Eastern Europe's Most Breathtaking Folkloric Fusion

We've been meaning to do a short write-up on DakhaBrakha for a while now. Why? Because they're simply outstanding in what they do and deserve to be heard far beyond the borders of their native Ukraine, where they [...]

We've been meaning to do a short write-up on DakhaBrakha for a while now. Why? Because they're simply outstanding in what they do and deserve to be heard far beyond the borders of their native Ukraine, where they already enjoy cult status. Don't be mistaken. We are not the first to fall captive to their mesmerising and mystical charm as well as to their innovative blend of "soulful Ukrainian folk with jazz and trance sounds" and more. DakhaBrakha are the real deal, the full musical package in terms of the highly conceptual, performative and visual approach they take to their art.

Over the past 15 years, the quartet has played over a thousand concerts and festivals, bringing their self-proclaimed "ethnic-chaos" to unsuspecting international audiences. And by unsuspecting we mean that until you've heard them live, you literally don't know what you've been missing: "A shadowy procession to the pounding of drums, to the murmur of a cello, morphs into an anthem, an invocation, a wild and wacky breakdown. Drones and beats, crimson beads and towering black lambs-wool hats all serve as a striking backdrop for an unexpected, refreshingly novel vision of Eastern European roots music."

DakhaBrakha in the old Ukrainian language means "give/take". Created in 2004 at the Kyiv Center of Contemporary Art (DAKH) by avant-garde theatre director Vladyslav Troitskiy, it comes as no surprise that the multi-instrumentalist group's performances verge on scenic theatre productions as they combine the more traditional sounds of their native Ukraine with a plethora of influences from around the globe: "With one foot in the urban avant-garde theatre scene and one foot in the village life that nurtured and protected Ukraine’s cultural wealth, DakhaBrakha shows the full fury and sensuality of some of Eastern Europe’s most breathtaking folklore."

You can watch their full 2017 performance on Seattle's KEXP in the video below (or their previous 2015 KEXP performance right here) to get a better idea of the actual sonic experience we are trying to put into words. More infos and videos here

DakhaBrakha are
Marko Halanevych (vocal, darbuka, didgeridoo, accordion)
Iryna Kovalenko (vocal, djembe, bass drum, accordion, percussion, bugay, zhaleyka)
Olena Tsibulska (vocal, bass floor tom, percussion)
Nina Garenetska (vocal, cello, bass drum)

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Parallel Persia

Tehran-Based Sound Artist Sote Unveils Mind-Rattling New Album On Diagonal Records

Is this the past or is it the future? With Tehran-based electronic music composer Ata Ebtekar, aka Sote, it is hard to tell. Fact is, he has been honing his craft for three decades and counting, an explorer, a [...]

Is this the past or is it the future? With Tehran-based electronic music composer Ata Ebtekar, aka Sote, it is hard to tell. Fact is, he has been honing his craft for three decades and counting, an explorer, a scientist, a sound artist in an ever-changing sonic environment. He "composes music with a deeply-held conviction that rules and formulas should be deconstructed and rethought", as he "alters musical modal codes from their original tonality and rhythmic tradition to achieve vivid synthetic soundscapes." 

Sote's musical vision is acutely experimental in form, yet eerily organic in nature and constantly in motion. You might remember his CTM-commissioned album "Sacred Horror In Design" released on Opal Tapes in 2017, which had us wondering, what exactly we had just listened to. And trust us, his latest album is likely to keep you guessing, with musical surprises lurking at every twist, turn and flourish. Preceded by the standalone single Artificial Neutrality, Sote recently unveiled his mind-rattling new full-length on Oscar Powell's Diagonal Records, entitled "Parallel Persia".

Created in early 2018, "Parallel Persia" features an electro-acoustic "series of compositional structures", combining "various synthesis techniques with Iranian acoustic instruments [Arash Boulouri (santour) & Pouya Damadi (tar)] that are pushed beyond ordinary operation." Or in the words of Sote himself, these are "snapshots of an apocryphal Iran [...] presented via sonic schematics for a synthetic 'Meta-Persian' experience," an experience that could be taking place "in our present-day life or maybe somewhere else somehow differently in a parallel world..." We'll let you decide.

You can stream/buy "Parallel Persia" in full on Bandcamp and make sure to check out the magnificent visuals to album track "Brass Tacks" by Pedram Sadegh-Beyki below.

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Suphanburi Soul

Bangkok’s Zudrangma Records Presents Crucial Compilation Of Rarities By The First Lady Of Lae

All the way from Bangkok comes a fantastic new compilation, featuring a selection of rare and "crucial cuts" by Kwanjit Sripajan, aka "The First Lady of Lae Music". Lae is a vocal genre that is generally performed [...]

All the way from Bangkok comes a fantastic new compilation, featuring a selection of rare and "crucial cuts" by Kwanjit Sripajan, aka "The First Lady of Lae Music". Lae is a vocal genre that is generally performed at initiation ceremonies for monks and focusses on the teachings of Buddha as well as communicating traditional values and "exhorting listeners to a righteous life."

Born to a farming family in 1947 in the Suphanburi region of central Thailand, Kwanjit Sriprajan's road to music was a windy one, seeing as her father opposed her pursuing a career in music. It was actually her younger sister who received training in the plang puen baan tradition. But Kwanjit found ways to observe singing techniques and receive valuable tips along the way.

When she heard of a competition taking place on a Bangkok radio station in 1966, she managed to participate and actually won, providing her with an opportunity to perform and record with a local band, which led to her connecting with key producers from the era (Jiew Pijit and Porn Pirom). 

"Recognising her talent and unique vocal delivery, [Porn Pirom] arranged a series of recordings for [Kwanjit] to perform on. He assembled a band of different players from military and police groups, who created an uneven mix of traditional arrangements coupled with elements of R&B and latin percussion. Such flourishes were not so surprising for luk thung, but less common for lae, which tended to be played on Thai percussion and wind instruments."

These recording sessions were eventually released on an LP ("Sin Haa") as well as four EPs and although "they weren't big hits commercially, they were hugely popular with the religious community" and "spread her notoriety as a performer and artist." Kwanjit continued to perform with different groups and self-release her music, until she became pregnant in 1973 and returned to Suphanburi, where today "she runs a centre from her house for anyone who wishes to come and learn about the music and culture for themselves."

"Suphanburi Soul: Kwanjit Sriprajan - The First Lady Of Lae Music" introduces listeners to eleven tracks from her storied career, compiled by Nattapon Siangsukon, aka Maft Sai, and Chris Menist of Paradise Bangkok.  

You can stream/buy the full release via the Bandcamp page of Thai record store and label Zudrangma Records and watch her perform live at the Paradise Bangkok fifth anniversary party in 2014 below.

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Hana Mash Hu Al Yaman

A-WA Drop Thought-Provoking Precursor To Forthcoming Second Full-Length

We first covered the Yemenite sisters back in 2016, when they teamed up with Loco Hot on APE Records. That was after they released their breakout single "Habib Galbi" (which has so far amassed over 12 million views [...]

We first covered the Yemenite sisters back in 2016, when they teamed up with Loco Hot on APE Records. That was after they released their breakout single "Habib Galbi" (which has so far amassed over 12 million views on YouTube) and followed that up with their eponymous debut album. Blending traditional Yemenite folk with urban beats and electronic soundscapes, Tair, Liron and Tagel Haim have made quite a name for themselves across the globe, as they confidently continue to propagate their role as strong and modern women in the rather conservative Middle East. 

Just recently A-WA released their new single "Hana Mash Hu Al Yaman", based on the real-life experience of their great-grandmother, who fled her home in Yemen in 1949 during what is today known as "Operation Magic Carpet" and immigrated to Israel to escape persecution and violence. However, upon arrival in Israel, said Yemenite Jews were placed in camps and regularly discriminated against. The lyrics of "Hana Mash Hu Al Yaman" reflect these early tensions and struggles:

"Where will I stake a home? (You have a tent for now) / Or at least a small shack (along with four other families) / And here I will raise a family (Don't let them take your daughter) / I'll find myself a job with an income (either in cleaning or working the earth) / And I will learn the language (Lose the accent) / With time I'll feel like I belong (Here is not Yemen)."

Reminiscent of the song "America" from the musical "West Side Story", the catchy single is led by the sisters' melodic chants, while driven by intricate rhythms and a beat produced by Tamir Muskat (Balkan Beat Box) that is clearly purposed for the dancefloor. The companion music video, which you can watch below, was shot in the streets of Tel Aviv and directed in collaboration Omer Ben-David. It features an array of powerful dance moves as well as a modern take on popular looks of the time. 

After "Mudbira" (unveiled earlier this year), "Hana Mash Hu Al Yaman" is the second promising precursor to A-WA's forthcoming full-length "Bayti Fi Rasi" (transl. My House Is My Head), to be released on May 31st (S-Curve/BMG). Preceding the album release the siblings will be on tour in Germany (see below). Check here for more dates. 

May 23rd Leipzig, Werk 2
May 24th Hannover, World Music Festival
May 25th Berlin, Gretchen Club

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Terrouzi

Mauritania's Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla Releases Extremely Limited Edition Tour Cassette

After two weeks in Turkey, our hearts bleed Arabesque. So it may not come as surprise that we have developed somewhat of a soft spot for songs in a minor key and melodies dealing with unfulfilled love and the likes. [...]

After two weeks in Turkey, our hearts bleed Arabesque. So it may not come as surprise that we have developed somewhat of a soft spot for songs in a minor key and melodies dealing with unfulfilled love and the likes. Under any other circumstances we most likely would have filed away Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla's instrumental electronic keyboard flourishes as 'kitch'. But that would have been a mistake. 

Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla is one of the Saharan country's biggest stars. Born into a musical family (his father being a renowned tidnit [four-stringed lute] player) he is today considered one of Mauritania's premiere keyboard performers, whose music can be heard "blaring from taxi caps and cassette shops across the country". As a regular at lavish weddings in the capital city of Nouakchott, Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla made a name for himself with his indubitable energy and "evocative theatrics, accentuating notes by playing with his elbows, or tapping the keyboard with his head".

On "Terrouzi" he combines classical Mauritatian music, aka WZN, with an abundance of outernational styles as he presents a future vision of the sounds he grew up with, from "90s slow jam R&B, to bass-heavy boom bap and minimal trap, [...] hypnotic and tranced out". There would seem to be no method to his musical madness, which makes his plastic sounds all the more intriguing and no doubt engaging. Head over to Bandcamp for the extremely limited cassette accompanying his recent tour of Europe, organised by Planet Rock. And for more insights, head over to Sahel Sounds

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Echoes Of Japan

The Minyo Crusaders Combine Traditional Japanese Folk Songs With A Plethora Of Global Styles

Well here's for a little something off the beaten path. All the way from Japan comes this big band that is quite unlike anything we've ever heard. The Minyo Crusaders just recently released their debut album on UK [...]

Well here's for a little something off the beaten path. All the way from Japan comes this big band that is quite unlike anything we've ever heard. The Minyo Crusaders just recently released their debut album on UK imprint Mais Um and we highly recommend you give it a listen. Led by guitarist Katsumi Tanaka, the 10-piece successfully reworks Japanese folk songs, also known as min'yō, with Latin, African, Caribbean and Asian rhythms, from cumbia, to Ethiopian jazz, Thai pop, Afro funk and reggae.

As Tanaka puts it, "for Japanese people, min'yō is both the closest and most distant folk music. We may not feel it in our daily urban lives, yet the melodies, the style of singing and the rhythm of the taiko drums are engrained in our DNA.” In the wake of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, he began researching Japanese roots music and was drawn to mid-late 20th century acts the likes of Hibari Misora, Chiemi Eri and the Tokyo Cuban Boys. "I was captivated by their eccentric arrangements and how they mixed min'yō with Latin and jazz,” he recounts. Min'yō was originally sung by fishermen (Kushimoto Bushi; Mamurogawa Ondo), coal miners (Tanko Bushi) and sumo wrestlers (Sumo Jinku), dealing with topics of a now forgotten Japan.“As a traditional performing art, min'yō is considered highbrow, yet these are mainly songs for working, dancing or drinking - we want to return them to their literal meaning as ‘songs of the people’,” he adds.

Intending to revive this style and combine it with world music, Tanaka decided to form a band and slowly but surely the Minyo Crusaders came into being. Their debut effort "Echoes of Japan" is out now. It is about "bringing 'highbrow' min'yō back to it's 'lowlife' roots" as well as to the global stage for it to be heard by a wider public and most importantly "everyday people". And one thing is for sure: You've got to hear this! 

Minyo Crusaders are:
Freddie Tsukamoto (vocals) 
Meg (vocals, melodica)
Katsumi Tanaka (guitar)
DADDY U (bass)
Moe (keyboards)
Sono (timbales)
Mutsumi Kobayashi (bongos)
Yamauchi Stephan (trumpet)
Koichiro Osawa (sax)
Irochi (congas)

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Strange Heat

Berlin/Potsdam-based Nine-Piece Wanubalé Releases Blazing Two-Tracker On Agogo Records

Hailing from Berlin/Postdam, the young nine-piece collective Wanubalé (Swahili for "Brothers") just released its debut EP "Strange Heat" on Agogo Records and is now set to perform live in Berlin tomorrow (Thursday [...]

Hailing from Berlin/Postdam, the young nine-piece collective Wanubalé (Swahili for "Brothers") just released its debut EP "Strange Heat" on Agogo Records and is now set to perform live in Berlin tomorrow (Thursday May 9th, 2019) at XJAZZ

Drawing inspiration from jazz and club culture, Wanubalé bring an amazing energy to the stage, as they meld jazz, neo soul, funk and electronic influences into a cohesive and absolutely ecstatic whole. With all nine members in their early twenties, some fresh out of high school, you might be prone to expect less, but don't be fooled. They are great musicians and more than able to flip the switch in an instant. Their carefully structured arrangements are intricate, but hardly boastful, while each and every track is a team effort. 

You might find yourself reminded of acts the likes of Snarky Puppy, Fat Freddy's Drop, Hiatus Kaiyote or Nubiyan Twist, but at the end of the day, Wanubalé are all about doing their own instrumental thing, without relying on vocals. With an album in the making, the brand new two-track EP "Strange Heat" is a testament to their ability and a serious groover that you can stream/buy on Bandcamp. Watch the studio session to a previous track called "Something Green" below, which was recorded at the Jazz Institut Berlin studios back in 2017. 

You can also catch Wanubalé live at Gretchen in Berlin for Fête de la Musique on June 21st. 

Wanubalé are
Gabriel Rosenbach (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Niko Zeidler (tenor/alto saxophone, flute)
Anton Kowalski (bari saxophone)
Jonathan Steffen (trombone)
Max Feig (guitar)
Moses Yoofee Vester (keys)
Moritz Schmolke (bass)
Heinrich Eiszmann (drums)
Philip Schilz (drums) 

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