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The Middle Eastern & African Playlist For July By John Doran
John Doran , July 15th, 2016 08:48

John Doran rounds up the best mixes, tracks, reissues etc. from the Middle East and Africa... including one playlist that is 70 hours long. Ideal for a bank holiday blow out...

Thanks to Mr Bongo of Brighton the shop and reissue label for providing our mix of the month. Now, there's every chance that eagle-eared listeners will be all, "WTF! Half of this music is clearly Latin... FML!" And true enough, that is the case, but still we wanted to draw attention to this excellent independent venture that does a lot to promote African and South American music. Their series of 7" reissues are a rare treat ranging from the stone cold classic Mulatu Astatke's 'Yegelle Tezeta' to the twanging and rambunctious Honny & The Bees Band's 'Psychedelic Woman' - and I have a torrid and completely unrealistic daydream of collecting all of them. And that's not to mention a score of must own albums such as the Ebo Taylor-produced classic, C.K. Mann And His Carousel 7's Funky Highlife. I'll be taking a look at individual Mr Bongo releases in my next Vinyl Staircase column in August but for now enjoy the mix.


  1. Luli Lucinha e O Bando - Flor Lila
  2. Arthur Verocai - Na Boca do Sol
  3. Evinha - Esperar Pra Ver
  4. Erasmo Carlos - Coqueiro Verde
  5. Rosa Maria - Avenida Atlantica
  6. Banda Black Rio - Maria Fumaca
  7. Equipe Rádio Cidade - Bons Tempo: Sao Paulo (Good Times)
  8. Marisa Rossi - Deixa Eu Te Amar
  9. Dom Salvador - Uma Vida
  10. Claudia - Garra
  11. Anilza Leoni - Balumba
  12. Cafe - Identify Yourself
  13. Quetchy Alma - Deep (Oh Poor Me)
  14. Willie Bobo - Be's The Other Way
  15. Los Africanos - Monster Party
  16. Eloah - Exu


Islam Chipsy & Amr HaHa - 'The Bullet'

Help ma boab! Chipsy's back! And this time the Keyboard King Of The Nile Delta is locking horns with electro chaabi's hottest trap producer, Amr HaHa of El Salam City. And I think it's fair to say this slice of full-throttle, nitro-boosted, psychotically EQ'd, reality warping, ridiculous, party-shattering bangeration is blowing my mind right now. The two extra tracks include a new version of 'Trinity' - the wrecking ball banger from last year's EEK album of the same name which came out on Nashazphone and a collaboration with Mido Mazzika. As with a lot of the releases on 100 Copies out of Cairo, it's unclear as to whether it'll get a physical release that reaches the UK or not but you can get it on iTunes etc. And, if you haven't had the pleasure and you live in or near London, EEK featuring Islam Chipsy are playing FOR FREE at the Walthamstow Garden Party on Saturday afternoon.


Sam Shalabi - 'Isis & Osiris'

Downtown Sam Shalabi is a busy, busy man, not content with being a member of various Montreal and Cairene groups such as cosmic free jazz outfit Karkhana, hypnotic Levantine hypno rockers The Dwarves Of East Agouza, the ambitious and orchestral Land Of Kush and the mysterious Nutsack, he also has his solo career to tend to. This is a short but tantalising excerpt from an amazing 40 minute long piece called Isis & Osiris which came out on Cairo-based Nashazphone records recently. Hectic piano arpeggios, voice manipulation, an AFX sounding jaw harp, a hypnogogic narrator, outer edges oud explorations, berserk tape manipulation and machine noise mark this out as a truly unique and psychedelic listening experience.


Xoli Ngcoza - African Roots Mix

Man alive, this mix is great. Xoli - or Xoliswa as she sometimes goes by - was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and learned to DJ first and foremost on cassette after discovering house and electronic music in the 90s. She moved to the US in 2004 and has been DJing Stateside for the last decade, making a name for herself as a house DJ but this heavy and deep exploration of her Afro roots knocks chunks out of all comers, featuring as it does, Miriam Makeba, King Sunny Ade and Ali Farka Toure among many others.


Munma - 'Cadavre Exquis' (featuring Jad Atoui)

Beirut based composer Jawad Nawfal has produced one of this year's best electronic LPs in Three Voices which came out on Ruptured, the label he co-runs, last month. The titular three voices belong to a group of spoken word artists that Nawfal commissioned specifically for the piece before building sound beds round each recording. Collaborating with vocalists while recording dubstep and with rappers for hip hop tracks in the past, he's no stranger to working with the human voice, but he is especially respectful of the spoken word element of these tracks, turning in an impressive collection of stark, minimal, dubbed out frameworks.


Jannis Stürtz - Habibi Funk 006 Mix

As I write this on July 12, I'm still wet to the skin after just nipping out to the post office and getting caught in a wintery downpour on the way back. If, like me, you need any help you can get persuading yourself that it's actually summer then I'd start right here with this new mix from our pal Jannis from Habibi. He's dished up some fresh slap bass punctuated, party-hearty Arabic rap from Fadoul, Egyptian disco and Algerian coladera.


Sote - Hardcore Sounds From Tehran

I know what you're thinking: "Look at that brutally-horned metal helmet decorated with a brass man's moustachioed face replete with jagged chain mail neck bunting... there is no way any music made by mere mortals can live up to such a fierce image." Except you would be wrong. This juddering slab of Iranian techno not only lives up to the anticipation generated by the glorious sight of a forged metal war hat - it exceeds it and then some. With a kick like a Cyberman drunk on shore leave and acidic bass synths that would melt your shoes, this is a total keeper and I insist that you buy it from Opal Tapes' Bandcamp immediately. (And if you visit their site, there are slightly more sensible sleevenotes available from friend of this column, the Iranian ambient artist Siavash Amini.) For those interested in reading more about Iran's underground rave scene, Pulse Radio published this excellent feature recently.


Boshra AlSaadi - Ya Watani—Syria, Dabke, Druzes

Boshra AlSaadi and her mother Roada (who both live in Brooklyn) and her Aunt Salwa from Damascus put this excellent mix together for Luka Bop/David Byrne Radio. We get lowered into the world of Syrian music 'gently' by the presence of some recent heavyweight bangers such as 'Wenu Wenu' by Omar Souleyman and 'Mili Alay' by Mohamed Al Ali before we get taken back to the 1940s and 50s for music from the Jabal Al-Druze. Best of all though is an interview with the three women themselves, explaining, among other things, the odd story of the star Asmahan.


Various Artists - Soundway Records Complete Discography

This is utterly ridiculous and utterly brilliant. Soundway - a fine, fine label - in their infinite wisdom have made their entire back catalogue available online. You have to sign up to Deezer to get full tracks instead of 30 second clips but that's free to do. Now, Soundway have released a lot of music over the years, and some of their albums have been the best released during the lifespan of tQ, not the least of which was the Kenya Special. And all of it's here for free. All 70 hours' worth.


Ernesto Chahoud - Jakarta Radio 011: "Middle Eastern Heavens III"

Ernesto Cahoud always brings strong sartorial game to the world of Middle Eastern funk, not to mention heavy artillery and a good cheroot. Also known as DJ Spindle, he’s the Lebanese founder of the Beirut Groove Collective and a big collector of Middle Eastern belly dance music. And this is one of the fine mixes, keeping tQ's spirits aloft during these dark, dark days.


Porest - 'Diplomat Smile'

The Sham Palace boss and Sublime Frequencies mainstay Mark Gergis has returned under the satirical, Dadaist, sampladelic guise of Porest once more. His new album Modern Journal Of Popular Savagery is out now on Cairo's Nashazphone records and focuses a fractured lens on current international affairs, deterritorialising the listener with a bewildering assault of styles and techniques; book ended with pop and hip hop. Between these two points though, the album ranges from the utterly bizarre kind of tape collage experiment that wouldn't be out of place on a Negativland record (Peter Conheim is a guest on the LP) or even on one of the more obscure entries on the Nurse With Wound list to the skewed synth pop take on South East Asian garage rock of 'Diplomat Smile'.


Egyptian Females - Experimental Music Session @ Borealis Festival for NTS Live

Get past the slightly dry nomenclature here and you've got a wonderfully dynamic, live & improvised, industrial leaning electronic set here recorded at this year's Borealis festival in Bergen, Norway. I first became aware of this septet (Asmaa Azzouz, Shorouk El Zomor, Hala Abu Shady, Jakqueline George, Nina El Gebarly, Ola Saad, and Yara Mekawi) after picking up their Experimental Music Session LP which came out on 100Copies in Cairo a few years ago. Their wry band name subtly underplays their hand - what with Egypt being (along with Paris) the birth cradle of electronic experimental music, and it still being one of the most important musical cities in the world to this very date - and pokes fun at lazy perceptions of Middle Eastern music and the role of female musicians inside the scene.


Lulus Band - 'I Can Feel It'

As I mentioned up above one of the best compilations of recent years is Soundway's Kenya Special, so I'm pretty stoked that they're putting volume two out in September. And to keep us going until then, here's a teaser track from Lulus Band.


Asal Malekzadeh - Daf Demonstration

Asal is one of Tehran's leading daf players and as much as I pretend not to be impressed by shows of pure technical prowess, I had my socks blown off by this short clip recently.


Tamer Abu Ghazaleh - 'El Balla'at'

Finally I'm really excited by the prospect of a new Tamer Abu Ghazaleh album, Thulth which is due out late August on Mostakell. The title of this track translates literally as 'Manholes' and features surrealist lyrics over an Egyptian mahraganat inspired bedrock with Palestinian folk influences, not to mention some smoking oud. We'll have more on this artist and album on the Quietus over the coming weeks.

Thanks this month go to Matthew @ Mr Bongo & Jono Podmore

John Doran will be playing African and Middle Eastern party music at Servant Jazz Quarters on Saturday July 16... more details here