Habibi Funk co-founder Jannis Stuertz first came across “the Holy Grail of Sudanese funk”, Saif Abu Bakr and The Scorpions “Jazz, Jazz, Jazz”, while browsing eBay listings a few years back. His interest piqued, he took a trip to Sudan to track down the musicians who had made a ridiculously rare LP that was changing hands for thousands of pounds online. Some four years later, his wish to reissue the set has finally come through. It was originally recorded in Kuwait in 1980 and brilliantly joins the dots between American funk, soul and rhythm and blues, traditional Sudanese vocals and rhythmic arrangements, and even a dash of Congolese soukkous. It’s the first full album Habibi Funk has reissued, and with good reason: it’s near perfect from start to finish.
vinyl / CD
Songs about the unity of Sudan, peace between Muslims and Christians and the fate of war orphans, backed by grooves equally taking influence from Arabic sounds, American funk as well as neighboring Ethiopia. Habibi Funk serves up an album of previously unreleased material by veteran performer Kamal Keila. The music contained on the album comes from two reel-to-reel tapes of session recordings made by Keila and his band for Sudanese radio in 1992, though many of the songs and arrangements date back to the 1970s. During his ’70s peak, Keila was often described locally as “Sudan’s answer to James Brown or Fela Kuti”. Although the influence of both is present on both tracks, you’ll also hear Sudanese blues, fifties-style R&B, hazy funk influenced by the Ethiopian music scene and sweet, horn-heavy, breakbeat-powered sing-alongs.
vinyl / CD