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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

Import / Export Mogadishu

Reviving The Sounds And Rekindling The Spirit Of Somalia's Golden Era
 

The Somali port city and capital of Mogadishu used to be home to a bustling music scene from the late 1960s up until the early 1990s, "teeming with pop and folk musicians whose influences spanned several genres of [...]

The Somali port city and capital of Mogadishu used to be home to a bustling music scene from the late 1960s up until the early 1990s, "teeming with pop and folk musicians whose influences spanned several genres of Somali traditional music alongside influences from abroad". Perhaps one of the most renowned groups of the era was the Dur-Dur Band who, free of government constraints, decided not to address politics or spread subversive messages, but rather concentrate on emphasising love and culture in their music, combining funk, disco and soul to a unique whole.

After going through several lineup changes, the Dur-Dur Band was most popular in the late 1980s and had released almost a dozen recording by the time civil war broke out in Somalia in 1991. The group disbanded and emigrated first to Djibouti and later to America.

"Today, only the audiotapes from the radio archives in Mogadishu and Hargeysa – saved from the war years and the music ban – testify to this rich musical heritage." In 2013, for instance, Awesome Tapes From Africa reissued the band's 1987 tape recording "Volume 5", which you can buy/stream in full on Bandcamp. While in 2017, Ostinato Records released its Grammy-nominated compilation "Sweet as Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes from the Horn of Africa".

Now building on the Dur-Dur Band's legacy is the London-based Dur-Dur Band International, composed of musicians from the Somali diaspora and reviving the legendary sounds and the vibrant spirit of the pre-war Somalia's golden era. The band is set to perform live in Berlin this Saturday, March 23rd, at Haus der Kulturen der Welt as part of the current "Find the File" festival. 

To get you into the mood, we would like to call your attention to a great new mixtape by Nicolas Sheikholeslami for Ostinato Records, which you can listen to in the SoundCloud player above. Entitled “Import / Export Mogadishu – Up & Down The Pentatonic” the selection features, among others, the voice of Xabib Sharaabi, "a key Somali figure of the 1990s", who will also be performing live on Saturday.

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1958

Blick Bassy's 4th Album Pays Tribute To Cameroonian Freedom Fighter Um Nyobé

Based in France, Cameroonian singer and songwriter Blick Bassy just released his fourth album "1958", which follows on the heels of his acclaimed previous album "Akö". His latest eleven track strong oeuvre is a [...]

Based in France, Cameroonian singer and songwriter Blick Bassy just released his fourth album "1958", which follows on the heels of his acclaimed previous album "Akö". His latest eleven track strong oeuvre is a resounding tribute to Cameroonian anti-colonialist freedom fighter Ruben Um Nyobé, who was killed by French forces in 1958.  

With his haunting yet soothing falsetto voice Blick Bassy calmly honours a man, whose name and legacy are rarely mentioned in modern-day Cameroon. In an interview with South Africa's "Mail & Guardian", Bassy recalls: "When I was in school, in our books, Ruben Um Nyobé was a terrorist, you know." Not too long ago, even mentioning Um Nyobé's name or that of his fellow UPC (Union des populations de Cameroun) activists could lead to imprisonment. 

"When you see what's happening in our country today, as well as in other African countries, it seems obvious that we've skipped at least one essential stage in our development, the stage of reconnecting with ourselves, our history and our values. We are striving to build our nations on foreign structures that have nothing to do with our ecosystem. Structures that have been imposed on us without our consent and that define various economic, educational, political and cultural models that in no way correspond to our needs or hopes for emancipation,"  Bassy points out in an interview with "Quotidien Mutations". 

On "1958" Blick Bassy sets out to explore Cameroon's forgotten history and give a name to those, who sacrificed their lives for their country's independence. As such, the album seeks to remind Cameroonian's today of their heritage, while also placing an emphasis on more universal themes, including "the bondage of neo-colonialism, the need for heroes, the relevance of history and the search for true identity."

Blick Bassy's work is subversively captivating. Far from inciting hate, sorrow or remorse "1958" is a beautiful call to action, with a sound both contemporary and rich in tradition. Watch the impressive companion videos to "Woñi" here and "Ngwa" below.

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Poison Fruit

Legendary Drummer Ivan "Mamão" Conti Releases Psychoactive New Album

If you are in any way familiar with Brazilian music, then you are bound to have heard of cult jazz-funk trio Azymuth. And if you know about Azymuth, then you will most likely also be familiar with the group's [...]

If you are in any way familiar with Brazilian music, then you are bound to have heard of cult jazz-funk trio Azymuth. And if you know about Azymuth, then you will most likely also be familiar with the group's drummer extraordinaire and living musical legend Ivan "Mamão" Conti, who is meanwhile in his early seventies and still going strong. "Mamão was at the root of the group’s 'samba doido' (crazy samba) philosophy, which warped the traditional samba compass with jazz influences and space age electronics."

Conti has always been keen on breaking new ground, tirelessly experimenting and innovating in an effort to champion new realms of sound (including an album with Californian hip hop producer Madlib, alias "Jackson Conti"). Now, in January, he released his first solo album in 20 years on Far Out Recordings. Entitled "Poison Fruit", the longplayer is a vivid exploration of Mamão's "zany Carioca character across eleven tracks of rootsy electronic samba and tripped out jazz, beats and dance music." 

The crisp organic soundscapes on "Poison Fruit" are absolutely invigorating and even inspired five remixes by Tenderlonious, Glenn Astro, Max Graef, Reginald Omas Mamode IV and Daniel Maunick (aka Dokta Venom), to be found on the digital and CD version of the album. Stream/buy the full release here, "take a bite of Mamão’s psychoactive papaya and join the maestro on a weird and wonderful stroll through the Brazilian jungle." Or listen to album track "Ilha Da Luz" below. For more info, read this nice piece by Eric Delhaye for Qwest TV. 

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No Risk, No Fun

Israeli Animation Artist Osi Wald Takes On Malox's "Istanbul"
Greedy

Remember MALOX? Well, it has been something like two years, since we last reported on the potent Israeli duo (now trio), composed of Eyal Talmudi (sax, clarinet, bag-pipes) and Roy Chen (drums) as well as latest [...]

Remember MALOX? Well, it has been something like two years, since we last reported on the potent Israeli duo (now trio), composed of Eyal Talmudi (sax, clarinet, bag-pipes) and Roy Chen (drums) as well as latest band member Assaf Talmudi (keys). Back in 2016 Eyal and Roy released their album "Gaza Trip" and our ears are still ringing. 

One of the tracks on said album was a loony 8-bit synth composition entitled "Istanbul", which was created by cleverly sampling and re-arranging the band's sounds. The track definitely has a comedic feel to it and recently inspired Israeli animation artist and long-time friend of the band Osi Wald ("Waltz With Bashir") to create equally freaky, looping companion visuals

Watch below at your own risk. But hey, no risk, no fun, right? 

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My Voice, My Weapon Of Choice!

Berlin's "Jenseits von Nelken und Pralinen" Festival Returns To Challenge The Status Quo

For the first time this year, March 8th in Berlin will be a public holiday, giving us all the more reason to celebrate this momentous day. Which is exactly what the Berlin-based Pralinen collective has been doing [...]

For the first time this year, March 8th in Berlin will be a public holiday, giving us all the more reason to celebrate this momentous day. Which is exactly what the Berlin-based Pralinen collective has been doing for the past four years with its potent "Jenseits von Nelken und Pralinen" (transl. "Beyond the Carnations and the Chocolates") festival. 

Founded back in 2016, the annual event takes place on International Women's Day and is steadily gaining momentum. While, internationally speaking, the global movement and ongoing battle for women's rights and gender equality has definitely advanced over the past few years, visibility for women in music remains disappointingly low. A look at current club and festival line-ups continues to suggest that there is a deficit of female musicians, DJs and MCs.

This is one of the issues the collective's consciously curated festival aims to change. "My voice, my weapon of choice," is the festival's rallying cry as it brings 9 international female MCs to the stage at YAAM Berlin, handing over the mic for them to spread their powerful messages, ideas and art. It's time to set the record straight.

This year's programme includes Barcelona's urban rap/flamenco trap sensation Tribade (watch "Mujeres" below), Valencia's vicious rap crew Machete en Boca (watch "To' Lo Etiquetáis" here), class Californian electro-rap act Drowning Dog and Malatesta (watch "Power" here), Berlin's Loop Station and beatbox addict Lisaholic (watch "Push My Button" here) and fellow Berlin future bass/rap/trap/grime activist Kaye of Spoke & Kaye (watch "Jax" here). The aftershow party will feature the marvellous border-crossing duo of Eli Pavel & Freak Ass E on the decks as well as a live techno/emolektra set by Nomi Elektra. Click here to visit the official event page and here to secure your tickets. 

And, in case you were wondering what's up with the carnations and the chocolates? Well, back in the days of the GDR, it used to be customary for women to receive carnations, various accolades and boxes of chocolates on Women's Day. But enough of the past. This here is the present fighting for a better future. It's time to speak up!

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Que Vola?

Dazzling French-Cuban Jazz Collective Drops Debut Album On Nø Førmat

Que Vola? This simple phrase, which translates to 'what's up?', is not just a common greeting in Cuba, but also the name of a new French-Cuban jazz collective that is currently on the rise and has just delivered an [...]

Que Vola? This simple phrase, which translates to 'what's up?', is not just a common greeting in Cuba, but also the name of a new French-Cuban jazz collective that is currently on the rise and has just delivered an outstanding debut album on French imprint Nø Førmat (Toto Bona Lokua, Mélissa Laveaux, Oumou Sangaré). 

Back in 2012 French trombonist Fidel Fourneyron embarked on his first trip to Cuba, to find out more about the country that inspired his first name. With him he had his trombone and an address given to him by double-bassist Thibaud Soulas, who'd previously spent some time there: Calle Luz, 'the street of light'. Soulas also connected Fourneyron with three young Afro-Cuban percussionists, all members of the fabled Osain del Monte ensemble. 

Fidel immersed himself in the magical world of Cuban rumba and Yoruba rhythms, of ancient rituals and sacred chants. But it took another five years until the new ideas that had taken hold of him fell into place. Surrounding himself with talented French jazzmen, Fidel returned to Havanna to reconnect with his Cuban friends and when they in turn visited Paris, the dialogue intensified and the magic began to happen.

The group's self-entitled debut album contains seven dazzlingly virtuosic compositions, one of them being a track called "Calle Luz", which you can watch in the video below: "The video tracks the tune’s insidious, percussive groove and bright, taut bursts of horn section to a dawn-to-dusk glimpse into the life & music of Calle Luz. Speaking about the track, Fidel Fourneyron says, 'The musical theme played by the wind instruments is a hint to rumba singers - it’s a simple song with only 5 notes. 'Calle Luz' is a memory from this place, my first souvenir from Cuba'."

If you are just as intrigued as we are by this story, do check-out Que Vola's ongoing, five-episode web series. Here you go: ONE, TWO, THREEFOUR and FIVE. Now you know what's up. 

Que Vola? are
Adonis Panter Calderon (percussion)
Aymeric Avice (trumpet)
Barbaro Crespo Richard (percussion)
Benjamin Dousteyssier (alto sax)
Bruno Ruder (Fender rhodes)
Elie Duris (drums)
Fidel Fourneyron (trombone)
Hugues Mayot (tenor sax)
Ramon Tamayo Martinez (percussion)
Thibaud Soulas (double bass)

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Sew Lesew

Gili Yalo Returns With Powerful First Single Off Forthcoming EP

A little more than a year has gone by since Gili Yalo released his phenomenal, self-titled debut solo album, which was one of eleven African albums to receive a 5-star review by Songlines Magazine in 2018. "The [...]

A little more than a year has gone by since Gili Yalo released his phenomenal, self-titled debut solo album, which was one of eleven African albums to receive a 5-star review by Songlines Magazine in 2018. "The whole thing has a strut to its step," writes Jim Hickson. "With Yalo singing in both Amharic and English, his band cooks up a whole range of retro flavours, from golden-age Ethiopian horns and old-school synths to the classic R&B rhythm-section sound. [...] It’s a fantastic album; play it loud and you will feel like the coolest person alive. After Gili Yalo, of course."

The Tel Aviv-based singer of Ethiopian descent continues to wow audiences across the globe, including a fabled performance at last year's Trans Musicales festival in Rennes, followed by several more live shows in Israel, Portugal, Poland, France, Austria, USA, Canada, Hungary and Turkey. He will be back in France later this week in Annecy on February 28th, in Rouen on March 1st, in Coutances on March 2nd and finally in Boston, USA, on March 28th, where he will also perform his new single "Sew Lesew", releasing worldwide today. It's the first single off his forthcoming EP "Made in Amharica" and was produced by Niles City Sound (the Grammy winning team that worked on Leon Bridges' "Coming Home" LP).

"'Sew Lesew' is a song about being a human being towards another human being. Its lyrics reflect the issue of immigration and refugees, borders and discrimination of newcomers. The topic is an important one for Gili Yalo, whose own life path was marked by the challenges of migration. 'Operation Moses' was the covert evacuation of Ethiopian Jews from Sudan during a famine in 1984. These Ethiopian Jews fled from their native land on foot to refugee camps in Sudan. Together with his family, Gili Yalo made this perilous trip, walked through the desert towards the 'Promised Land' and sang to his beloved ones. The single reflects Gili Yalo’s concern about the contemporary crisis of human relations in Israel and around the world," reads the description introducing the release's official music video created by Nadav Direktor, which you can watch below.

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Planet Malek

Watch Habibi Funk's Short Documentary On The Legendary Algerian Musician Ahmed Malek

We love everything Berlin-based imprint Habibi Funk and main man Jannis Stürtz have been creating over the past years, including their notorious mixes of Arabic Funk. Back in 2016, as part of their globally [...]

We love everything Berlin-based imprint Habibi Funk and main man Jannis Stürtz have been creating over the past years, including their notorious mixes of Arabic Funk. Back in 2016, as part of their globally celebrated reissue series, they released an anthology of legendary Algerian musician, multi-instrumentalist and composer Ahmed Malek's beautiful film music, which you can still stream/buy over on their Bandcamp page

"Arabic records have become my number one hobby and luckily I got my hands on a copy of Ahmed Malek’s 'Musique Originale De Films' album. I already knew some of the tracks but listening to the music the way it was originally released, and not as a crappy Youtube version, made me fall in love with Malek’s compositions all the more. It manages to create this very special mood: melancholic and reflective, emotional and touching, but never depressing. Even without having seen any of the pictures created for this, it immediately brings visuals to one’s imagination," writes Jannis Stürtz. 

Haunted by Malek's sounds, Jannis teamed up with film maker and DJ Paloma Colombe and travelled to the late Ahmed Malek's hometown of Algiers, where they met with family and friends to create a wonderful short documentary on one of Algeria's most important musical figures and cultural representatives: 

"Ahmed Malek was born on March, 6th 1932 at Bordj El Kiffan, Algiers. He was the oldest son of a family of 3 brothers and one sister. He went to work at a young age in factories to help his father to raise the family. His mother died when he was 12. It was then that decided he wanted to become a musician, and after graduating school he studied at the Algerian Conservatory. He gained recognition for his craft from an early stage and won several prizes and medals nationally and internationally. He was the conductor of the 'Algerian Television Orchestra' for many decades and represented his country at international events such as the Expo In Japan, Canada, Cuba and Spain. During his time as an active composer he wrote the music for dozens of movies, television shows and documentaries. Then, in the late 90’s, his health deteriorated. He passed on the 24th of July, 2008, at his home in El Mouradio, Algiers," Jannis explains.   

The 20-minute film "Planet Malek" released in January and can be viewed via Apple Music as well as on YouTube (below). It is a touching and intimate portrait of a man, whose music remains. "He's not dead," says former neighbor and friend Hadjab Abdenour. "Artists like Djamel Allam or Rachid Taha, they are not dead." And it is true. Through his music, Ahmed Malek is eternal and through this invaluable documentary and reissues of his music, future generations will be able to rediscover his undeniable magic.

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Yanga

Wrap Your Heads Around This Thrilling Southern Californian Five-Piece

Situated in close proximity to the metropolitan area of Los Angeles, Southern California's Inland Empire was a major center of agriculture at the end of the 19th century. Today the enclave is home to the "sixth [...]

Situated in close proximity to the metropolitan area of Los Angeles, Southern California's Inland Empire was a major center of agriculture at the end of the 19th century. Today the enclave is home to the "sixth largest Spanish-speaking population among all US metropolitan areas" and remains fertile in the sense of a "growing scene of Afro-Latin independent music".

Among this new generation of "intrepid musical explorers" is Yanga, a thrilling five-piece led by "John D’Alessandro’s accordion and the fiery female voice of Eddika Organista (El Haru Kuroi)". The band has been on the rise with its "traditional bouillabaisse of [Colombian] Afro-Carib rhythms, the likes of cumbia, garabato, tambora or zambapalo" and recently delivered a stellar, beautifully designed, double-7" debut on Brooklyn-based imprint Names You Can Trust (Bixiga 70 / Frente Cumbiero / Malphino).

"Libérate (Volumen 1&2)" features four captivating tunes, bound to set alight the dingiest of bodegas. Did someone just say "Ron Con Limon"?! Head over to Bandcamp to indulge in Yanga's indelible sonic landscape, specked with "subtle psychedelia" and "classical sounds of the tropical '70s", making for "a pefect juxtaposition of vintage and modern". Or watch their latest live(ly) performance for Beats of All-Nations below.  

Yanga are
John D'Alessandro (acordeon)
Tony Martin III (bajo electrónico)
Eddika Organista (voz y semilla)
Daniel McCormick (tambora y voz)
Eduardo Valencia (tambor alegre)

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Alyona Alyona

Sky’s The Limit For Ukraine's New Hiphop Sensation
 

In her native Ukraine, alyona alyona's debut album has already become the most anticipated release of 2019. And within just a few months, the young kindergarten teacher from a village on the outskirts of Kiev became [...]

In her native Ukraine, alyona alyona's debut album has already become the most anticipated release of 2019. And within just a few months, the young kindergarten teacher from a village on the outskirts of Kiev became an overnight hiphop sensation. We first chanced upon her in a post by her booking agency More Zvukov. And although we couldn't understand a word she was saying, we fell in love almost instantly.

It all began, when she released the first companion video to her song "Рибки" ("Fishes") last October, which went viral on YouTube and has meanwhile collected over a million views. “Fishes” was alyona alyona's claim to fame, the reason she is now widely considered to be the future of Ukrainian rap and has been nominated for a YUNA Award in 2019 ("Best Hiphop Hit"). But she is far from being just another one-hit wonder. 

alyona alyona has so far released several tracks with equally engaging companion videos. Her track "Залишаю свій дім" ("Leaving My Home") is a personal story about her move to the big city, namely Kiev, while the companion music video directed by Delta Arthur has meanwhile accumulated over 2.5 million views. The b&w video to her second single "Голови" ("Heads"), directed by Sasha Prilutsky, sees the hefty rapper jogging through the countryside, never once stopping to catch her breath. Her third single "Відчиняй" ("Open Up")is a powerful hiphop manifesto to a new generation, with a fresh video directed by Israeli director Jan Bolotov, who also cooked up this fun, David Lynch-esque video to "Рибки 2" ("Fishes 2").

There is something about alyona alyona that goes beyond her no doubt impressive appearance, her confident attitude, her captivating flow, her (assumed) lyrical prowess, her sound delivery or her kindergarten alter-ego. Her success may simply boil down to an innate sense of authenticity that provides her hiphop persona with the necessary street credibility the genre thrives on. That and obviously the talent and creativity she continuously displays in her music.

We expect to be seeing and hearing a lot more from her in the near future and can't wait to witness her live on stage in Europe. That being said, there is no doubt in our minds that alyona alyona's got next.

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Murphy's Law

The Jewish Monkeys Premiere Hilarious Music Video To New Single
Greedy

We warned you last Friday. The Jewish Monkeys are back and paving the road to their forthcoming third album "Catastrophic Life", to be released in autumn. Which also means new music for all of us. Isn't life a [...]

We warned you last Friday. The Jewish Monkeys are back and paving the road to their forthcoming third album "Catastrophic Life", to be released in autumn. Which also means new music for all of us. Isn't life a beauty?

"All the Great Things" is the band's new single and first track off the new album and it too celebrates life in all its absurdity. The single is a catchy, Balkan-infused ska punk track, which features the Jewish Monkeys' new horn section and an infectiously optimistic groove: "All the great things happen, when you least expect them to happen / They happen to distract you from the sh*t that happens, in your life / All the bad things happen 'cause you're waiting for them to happen / They happen when you open your arms and invite them, into your life."

Below you can now watch the recently unveiled official new companion video to "All the Great Things"; a hilarious compilation of fail videos, brilliantly narrated by Gael Zaidner, who reveals the simple truth behind Murphy's Law and recommends we quite simply accept all the 'great' things life has in store for all of us, as painful and unforeseeable as they may be. The band will be on tour in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic this March. Check here for a show near you. 

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All the Great Things

The Jewish Monkeys Announce New Single And Tour Dates
Greedy
 

Great news from our favourite band of primates: Following their support shows for the one and only Shantel and his Bucovina Club Orkestar back in November, the infamous Jewish Monkeys stopped 'monkeying around' and [...]

Great news from our favourite band of primates: Following their support shows for the one and only Shantel and his Bucovina Club Orkestar back in November, the infamous Jewish Monkeys stopped 'monkeying around' and headed back to their concrete jungle of Tel Aviv to work on album number three. Boasting a very promising title, "Catastrophic Life" is set to be released this fall. So stay put. 

And no, we are not about to leave you hanging. Of course we've brought a little something along to reward you curiosity. Releasing March 8th on International Women's Day is the band's fittingly entitled new single "All the Great Things", which you can listen to in the SoundCloud player above. And, in case you were wondering, yes, it is indeed great! We will also be unveiling the official music video shortly. Very shortly. 

Finally, seeing as all good things come in threes, the band will take their new single on the road and play a total of seven shows in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic from March 7th through March 14th. This will be your first opportunity to see the Jewish Monkeys' new lineup, including newly circumcised, um, we meant certified band members Eylon Tushiner (saxophone) and Yaron Ouzana (trombone), who will quite literally blow your minds with their funk- and afrobeat-inspired brass. Expect a reload of the band's satirical standards, Yiddish bangers and some unexpected musical additions! Gut Shabbes!

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