We have been huge fans of Belgium’s Radio Martiko for their fresh approach to global grooves excavation. They have been responsible for classic reissues such as Abdou El Omari, Ry-co Jazz or lately Hany Mehanna. Great DJs as well as they bring you all the special tunes you ask for. Here’s a Top 5 gathering some titles you can expect to hear soon on their releases.
“Selecting a top 5 seemed to be quite impossible for us, so we decided to select 5 songs which will be featured on our upcoming releases. I guess you can see this as a sort of première. Bring on the champagne!”
VASSILIS VASSILIADIS : Tsiftetelli 1968
We’ve been working on a compilation with Greek tsiftetelli and dimotika for about 5 years now. All things took a bit longer than expected. Once the compilation will be launched, we can die in peace.
When you think about Greek popular music, you might think about the horrible trash you hear in Greek restaurants. However, Greece is definitely one of the most interesting countries for digging. The musical history is so rich and varied and the music industry had an enormous turnover. Every time we go to Greece, we come back with tons of mind blowing records. Every journey is full of musical discoveries.
Tsiftetelli is belly dance music and Vassilis Vassiliadis is the Greek Farfisa king. He introduced Farfisa organ in Laïkó (Greek popular music) around the mid-sixties when he returned from the US. The remarkable percussion sound in this storming instrumental (plaid with sticks on bongos) is very hard here and latin flavoured. This track always puts the dancefloor on fire. Note for the ultimate collector : Vassiliadis also made tsiftetelli 1969, 1972 and 1975.
TASSOS CHALKIAS : Dirminitsa
We are preparing a compilation with music from the Chalkias family. They come from Epiros, the north of Greece, close to the Albanian boarder. The music they play is epirotica or music from Epiros (why not keep things simple?). Tassos Chalkias is like the godfather of this family. The piece you can hear is a moiroloy, a song to mourn over the dead. Traditionally, these songs were sung in a crying way by women. In the modernised versions, these crying melodies were taken over by the klarino (Greek for clarinet). It’s very deep and emotional music which reminds us of spiritual jazz, Indian or East African music.
MOHAMED OULD NANA : Bayna Douali
More musicians who preferred to keep the money in the family : the Ahl Nana family from Mauritania. Bayna Douali is a Lebanese classic reworked as desert blues.
The first studio recordings of Mauritanian music were made in Morocco by Boussiphone. We found some of these 45’s in a suburb of Casablanca and were immediately blown away by their beauty. Through a friend, we got in touch with the owners of Boussiphone. Not in Morocco, but in Belgium. One of the Boussif brothers has a shop close to the Midi station in Brussels, a place we’ve passed by a few hundred times. Apparently, the things you’re looking for, are right under your nose sometimes. We recently acquired the Mauritanian catalogue on Boussiphone which also includes music by Si Daty et Mounina and Mahjouba Bent El Midah. The catalogue has a lot of ungoogleable songs : a wet dream for every record nerd.
LUCHO BERMUDEZ & MATHILDA DIAZ : Mi Cumbia
Lucho Bermudez is a musical legend in Colombia. You can hear his music everywhere : from the streets of Bogota to the smallest village in the middle of nowhere. Young and old know his songs by heart.
Bermudez recently got some worldwide acknowledgement due to some reissues of his work. Certain songs like Fiesta de Negritos, Tolu or Arroz con Coco became classics for cumbia fans in the West. However, Bermudez’s musical heritage has much more to offer. That’s why we want to release a double LP, to introduce more of his songs to a broader audience and to give this musical giant the respect he deserves.
Mi Cumbia is one of our favourite Bermudez tunes. A very unique song. Slow and deep exotic grooves sung by his former wife Mathilda Diaz.
HANY MEHANNA – Hanady
After releasing Mehanna’s legendary album ‘The Miracles of the Seven Dances’, we were allowed to dig into Hany’s personal archive. We had the honour to listen to old master tapes, which include mostly music he composed for Egyptian films and series, and even some unreleased work. The upcoming album will feature tracks from 45’s and from these original master tapes. ‘Hanady’ is another stunning, out of the box instrumental from the seventies when this brilliant composer outshined himself. We hear Omar Khorshid piercing some hyper melodic guitar lines through heavy oriental beats, answered by Hany’s organ wizardry. Mehanna experiments here with unusual sounds from the kaval flute and spaced out electrified violin.