The blinding Habibi Funk survey of Eclectic Music from the Arabic World lights up a lesser known paradigm of artists from the Arabic world incorporating sounds from beyond their local traditions with often stunning, wild and bewildering results. After teasing the set in with a handful of tasty previews in recent months, the full collection includes 5 tunes completely unreleased on any other format, from blazing funk throw-downs to Caribbean-tinged soukous, disco and smoothly harmonised psych-soul.
“Habibi Funk is dedicated to re-releasing a style of music that historically never existed as a musical genre. We use the term to describe a certain sound that we like from the countries of the Arab world. The songs we chose were created in places quite far from another and under very different circumstances. Some were written and recorded during war times, others in exile. Despite the differences we think there is a musical connection between them. Essentially, we are interested in the musical endeavors, in which artists from the Arab world mixed local and regional influences with musical interests that came from outside of the region.
Even though the name suggests it’s all about funk music, our focus is more than just that. Often these influences might be inspired from Western popular music such as soul, pop and rock but it’s not limited to that either. Some of our favorite records are best described as Arabic zouk (a genre originating from the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe) like Mallek Mohamed’s music, Algerian coladera (a popular musical style from the Cape Verdean islands) or Lebanese AOR, which means the process of musical influences displayed on this compilation was much more versatile than just taking Western music as a blueprint and translating it with a local accent. The compilation features 15 different artists. Some you might already know thru Habibi Funk’s releases like Fadoul, Ahmed Malek, Dalton or Al Massrieen, while others are meant as an introduction to artists like Kamal Keila, Sharhabeel Ahmed, Attarazat Addahabia & Mallek Mohamed who will all release full length albums on Habibi Funk in 2018.”
Pangaea overhauls Loleatta Holloway’s obscure ‘90s house nugget Stand Up as a sort of dabke-meets-UK bass play for Salsoul.
Hingeing around a sub hit and scream stab reminding of his Inna Daze 12”, Pangaea replaces snatches of Holloway’s vocal around a snaky break broke right off some Omar Souleyman tune, resulting one of 2017’s smartest, most effective curveballs.