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The Big Mango"Sam Shalabi has raised the bar for modern psychedelic music by composing this epic suite for his 20-piece Land of Kush orchestra. Utilizing African, Middle Eastern, Indian, jazz, rock, and folkloric sources, The Big Mango weaves a seamless montage of styles in a transcendent way that is rarely, if ever, achieved. A singular cohesive statement built around four key tracks written for four different female vocalists it will demand your attention from start to finish." - Alan Bishop (Sun City Girls/Sublime Frequencies)
Osama (Sam) Shalabi moved to Cairo in 2011, settling in an apartment one block from Tahrir Square, in the midst of Egypt's 'Arab Spring'. Shalabi describes The Big Mango, his new and phenomenal work for his Land Of Kush big band, as "a love letter to Cairo"
framed by "the beautiful,surreal madness of the city as joyous, horrific, historical events were
unfolding". The music was also inspired by time spent in Dakar, where in Senegal's music scene Sam experienced parallels to another of his central aesthetic and political touchstones, Brazilian Tropicalia, in the sense of a "positivity, complexity and radicalism in art that was also
playful and joyous and wasn't necessarily part of a 'revolution' but seemed to be a form of innate radicalism". In tandem with the relative openness of Dakar's Islamic society - with the much more prominent role and presence of women in public and private life and the relaxed physicality and sensuality of the culture in general - Senegalese music offered a powerful counterpoint and feeling of promise for Egypt's own future. "The Big Mango" is one of the many nicknames for Cairo, but for Shalabi it also evokes the succour and sensuality of southern hemispheric music more generally, in this relation to broader socio-political movements.
MontrÉal remains Shalabi's home base and the city to which he briefly returned towards the end of 2012 to reconvene the troupe of players that have helped him realize his large-scale works under the Land Of Kush moniker. Working through The Big Mango score with
these local musicians culminated in two ecstatic live performances and a recording session at MontrÉal's Hotel2Tango studio. This third album by Land Of Kush is arguably the group's most focused and immediately satisfying.
For Shalabi, gender and Arab culture has been a central theme, one he took up explicitly on the previous Kush album Monogamy (2011), and which similarly drives The Big Mango, where once again a series of female vocalists drawn from MontrÉal's indie rock community anchor the work and convey what in most of the North African Arab world remains a
profoundly unrealized though burgeoning spirit of gender equality, participation, expression and liberation. This promise is at the heart of Shalabi's "love letter".
The Big Mango opens with a bubbling Fauvist stew of balafon, flute, electronics and vocalizations which abruptly segue into solo piano and saxophone improvisations - an introductory set of musical mating calls that invoke the album's deeper conceptual and formal preoccupations. The libidinal energy of rock n' roll is then re-situated in a heterodox Middle Eastern context as the album's centerpiece songs unfold: "The Pit", "Mobil Nil",
"Drift Beguine" and "The Big Mango" each marked by propulsive female vocal performances from Ariel Engle, Katie Moore, Elizabeth Anka Vajagic and Molly Sweeney respectively.
Underpinning each of these singers is some of Land Of Kush's s most melodically and rhythmically compelling music, conjuring a post-modern psychedelia that is truly sui generis. The band delivers the grooves and soloists unleash excursions more fluidly than ever; for many of these players, it's the third time around embracing Shalabi's music, getting inside the spirit of the score, and following his conduction. In combination with the peaking intensity and electricity of Sam's compositional vision, The Big Mango coheres,sparkles and soars: a distillation of the sonic trajectory Land Of Kush has been charting for the past six years.1. Faint Praise
2. Second Skin
3. The Pit (Part 1)
4. The Pit (Part 2)
5. Sharm El Bango
6. Mobil Nil
7. St Stefano
8. Drift Beguine
9. The Big Mango$25.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Beatte HarabThe third LP by the now legendary Group Doueh. Group Doueh have been playing in and around their native Dakhla, in the Western Sahara for over 27 years. This LP showcases a different side to Group Doueh's far-reaching arsenal of sounds.
The songs represented on this album adhere to the roots of Saharoui music, drawing from the classical repertoire of ancestral Mauritanian musical modes. Using the traditional Moorish instruments such as the tinidit (three string Mauritanian lute), ardin (kora-like harp played traditionally by women), tbal (clay drum) and the kass (tea glasses) along with guitar and Korg synth, Group Doueh manage to attain heights of spiritual poetry that this music aspires to convey.
Douehs wife Halima Jakani's ardin playing and most importantly, her vocal prowess, take this music to blissful and exalted realms. Doueh's tinidit and guitar overlays showcase the technical virtuosity and command that this master has over the region's stringed instruments. This is the music of Group Doueh's roots and the band truly takes these traditions to cosmic heights.
Recorded by Group Doueh and Hisham Mayet on location in Dakhla, West Sahara in 2010. This limited edition vinyl LP comes in a beautiful full-color gatefold jacket.1. Kar Wazan Abyad
2. Mawak Lakhaal
4. Beatte Harab
5. Kar Lakhaal
7. Wazzan Abyad Kar
8. Lehi Teyilu
9. Wazan Fagu Doueh
10. Yadanat Lamayma
11. Kar Labyad Doueh$29.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
$22.99 $18.16 Save $4.83 (21%)
Zayna Jumma (Discontinued) (On Sale)LP version of Group Doueh's record Zayna Jumma. From the gorgeously cracked yet all-embracing opening drum roll of Zayna Jumma (the title track), it's evident this band is hell-bent on redefining the sound of its influences and in turn, shape the future sound of its surroundings. It's musical alchemy in its purest, most remarkable form, pushing at the boundaries of geographical divergence while simultaneously speaking to the shared resonances between Western rock rhythms and the pulse of the Saharan trance tradition. Since its inception, Group Doueh's ability to craft pop hooks from a foundation of saharoui roots music has been a manifestation of sheer song craft and innovation. The tracks on Zayna Jumma are a deeper excavation of the group's forged terrain: a collision of contemporary Afro-Saharan grooves balanced with the searing modalities of Doueh's desert origins, finally nuanced by the transcendental pop/rock/desert blues elements honed from gestating in the fringes of the Sahara desert. For the latest installment of this Dakhla family's musical dynasty, Doueh recruits his next eldest sons El Waar (synth) and Hamdan (drum kit), and wife Halima is augmented by three female back-up singers. The band keeps evolving and this album reveals its newest phase -- that of a formidable ROCK unit. The songs on this record were recorded in 2010 -- a busy year for Doueh, maintaining its day job as the go-to group of the Saharan wedding industry while still managing recording sessions and a tour with Tony Allen (Fela Kuti's long-time drummer). On the heels of this momentum, Zayna Jumma is released to coincide with the group's 2011 spring/summer tour of the UK, Europe and a first-ever U.S. tour. This band continues to redefine the musical landscape and keep listeners amazed and transfixed. It's the perfect ecstatic music for the impending apocalypse, a rogue sound rooted in the past and yet boldly harnessing the aural possibilities of the landscape ahead... go ahead and jump aboard. Recorded on location in Dakhla, West Sahara in 2010 by Hisham Mayet. Housed in a full-color heavy-duty gatefold tip-on jacket.1. Zayna Jumma
2. Ishadlak Ya Khey
3. Zaya Koum
5. Jagwar Doueh
7. Ana Lakweri
8. Wazan Doueh$22.99 $18.16 Save $4.83 (21%)Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now