Habibi Funk Records, from Berlin, was created as a spin off of Jakarta Records, dedicating its efforts to discovering and releasing sounds from an unknown world to most of us. Within the music scene of Africa and the Middle East they've been exploring, in loco, the releases of various artists long forgotten, or never discovered, by our western world. Their contribution to the European music scene is absolutely essential and invaluable. Along with Habibi Funk we've been introduced to some of the best Arabic Funk, Jazz and other organic sounds from mystical places living a special era.
Muslims and Christians from Sudanese artist Kamal Keila is their latest release. It is the result of a little bit of luck and insatiable music exploration. While preparing the release of more Sudanese Jazz, the Habibi Funk folks knew about Keila, an old singer that was called as the James Brown or Fela Kuti of Sudan. So they went to meet him, of course.
Starting his career around the '60s, he had never released a record on vinyl and that, apart from one album which still remains to be found, he was not able to remember about a cassette tape release either. He had however record sessions for Sudanese radio, that Keila kept in the form of two studio reels, appearing very poor conditions to be heard. But they played it once and everything sounded good. They were immediately digitized, preserving the unique sessions. And there was something there... 5 tracks on each tape... one with English lyrics and another with Arabic ones. Habibi Funk just couldn't miss the opportunity to release them, saving a bit of Sudan's music history, a country divided in two, dramatically divided in two.
Musically there's influences of Fela and American funk and soul. Keila's lyrics show freedom from censorship, being very political. A brave statement in the political climate of Sudan of the last decades, preaching for the unity of Sudan, peace between Muslims and Christians and singing the blues about the fate of war orphans called "Shmasha“.
Kamal Keila’s Muslims and Christians is the first in a series of releases covering the Sudanese jazz scene on Habibi Funk. Invaluable and rare pieces to be added to our collections. Coming out in a few days, we're already grooving to Keila's voice.