3 Hür-El: “Şeytan Bunun Neresinde” (Ve Ölüm/Şeytan Bunun Neresinde, 1970)
What a statement of intent - this was the B-side to the Hür-El brothers first single - a Harmonica fuelled behemoth which will destroy any unsuspecting dancefloor. The most amazing Turkish psych outfit bar none - The Hür-El brothers are finally getting their dues - lovely reissues of their first two albums by the Spanish Label Guerssen are readily available via tut wondrous Interweb - I highly recommend their second album “Hür-El Arsivi” - contains two songs which comprised the greatest (in my humble opinion) Turkish psych single ever released - the jaw dropping “Ömür Biter Yol Bitmez/Sevenler Ağlarmış” 7 inch from 1974.
Check out “Sevenler Ağlarmış” below - Brother Feridun rocking a double necked guitar - one for guitar, one for saz - the breakdown in this chOOn is absolutley cream in your boxers sublime - Jaffers suitably rocked!
Alpay: “Dağlar Engel Oldu” (Allah’ım Yeter/Dağlar Engel Oldu, 1974)
Known affectionately as the “Turkish Elvis”, Aplay was the Anatolian with the golden voice. He released a slew of amazing singles throughout the early 70’s - collaborating with the heaviest psych outfits of the day.
Yekte - His much sought after masterpeice from 1973.
Seni Deliniyorum - Yekte’s B-side may be even better with its incredible rhythm, fuzz guitar and psych percussion.
Aşk Böyledir - Huge single from 1972 backed by the Hürel brothers.
Gönüllerde Bahar - and the B-side - great saz, fuzzed up anatolian rhythms - chOOn!!
Mesfin Abebe: “Aybaba” (Best of Mesfin Abebe, 199?)
The music industry in Ethiopia in the 1980s was in crisis. The country was in the throes of a bloody civil war and at the mercy of a military dictorship. The production of vinyl recordings stopped, many of the countries leading musicians emigrated to the west amid the political turmoil and the permanent curfew all but ended live music performances.
With no recognised system for music production, many record shops soon took on this role - as much to ensure their own survival as well as that of the musicians. Cassette culture soon boomed across the country and Ethiopian music was preserved. I’ve already raved about Francis Falceto’s Ethiopiques series on chOOn!! and on this blog - it’s wealth of classic Ethiopian recordings from the Imperial Era are an endless bounty for any music lover.
However, I certainly disagree with Falceto’s damning assessment of the state of the Ethiopian music scene during the years under military rule.
Ariel Pink sums this period up best in an interview with Simon Reynolds.
“Many of these musicians are the same ones you can hear on Ethiopiques, but by the Eighties they’d become recording artists rather than a live thing. They were forced to do these recordings in the middle of the night, and they’d dub the tapes and disseminate them. By the Eighties and into the early Nineties it’s become this futuristic kind of funk, spacy and totally evocative, with really jazzed out, echoed-out trumpets and Simmons electronic drums. It’s the most glorious era of music that hasn’t even had its own blog yet.” One of the musicians who flourished in Addis Ababa in the early Eighties was Mesfin Abebe, whose iconic soulful guitar playing earned him legendary status in Ethiopia.
Not strictly a blog find - I found his “Aybaba” trawling the murky depths of Ethiopian music forums. Applying language translators in every new tab, I managed to wrangle a “Best of” collection released in Ethiopia - It was well worth it!
You can find Mesfin turning his hand to modern sounds to this day - this one’s quite sweet.
Sadek Metwaly: “Zalamouni Zalamouni” (Eshet El Basata, 19??)
Absolutely amazing - Rare Sudanese Cassette from Sadek Metwaly (sometimes translated as Sadeek Metwaly). Beautiful guitar work, haunting vocals atop an undercurrent of sweeping synths and rhythmic drumming. This is why I dooz this!
I was going to play “Tensa Keef Ma’ Adna” on chOOn!! but opted for “Zalamouni Zalamouni” - I love them both - Listen to “Tensa’s” playful guitar and irresistible rhythm - chOOOOOn!!!
Bob Stewart: “Moorish Dance” (The Unique Sound of the Psaltery, 1975)
Medieval-Synth – Bob Stewart has the market sewn up on that genre right here – He plays the Psaltery – an ancient instrument with seventy-three strings that requires a table and two sturdy hands to play. Like many great chOOnsmiths he decides to pair the ancient with the modern and throws a synthesiser into the mix with wondrous results. The sound is fuller than you might expect and the tone has a delightfully silvery quality. The synthesiser is used tastefully and really adds a unique flavour to the chOOns.
Dur Dur: “Ledenay” (Unknown Somalian Cassette, 199?)
Due to civil war during the 90s, Dur Dur were forced to relocate from Somalia to Ethiopia where they released the cassette this chOOn was taken from. If you have spent anytime watching videos of the band on youtube you’ll be surprised on first hearing this cassette. The videos display a band with a blistering funk assualt - ostentatious and full of vigour with a HUGE sound.
The music the band produce on this release is far more stripped and almost lo-fi in comparison. One can only guess at what constraints their relocation may have had on any number of elements that went in to this changing sound. However, the step away from the full-on-funk doesn’t dampen the impact of the music… if anything it lends it a unique allure all of it’s own.
“Ledenay” immediately jumped out at me on first listen… mainly because I had heard it before… well a cover of this song on youtube entitled “Waha Leyebe” by Marta Getachew. I couldn’t believe my luck to find a Dur Dur cover of this traditional love song. I love the Getachew version, I love the Dur Dur version - chOOn me down!
This is the reason why I dooz this show and this blog - to find wonders like “Yewyen Abebaie” - It makes the countless hours spent in my boxer shorts flicking through blog after blog of guff all worth while. What can i say about this wonderful exotic oddity… Released on Emporio Musicale out of Asmara, Eritrea - I can only find information on one other record released on this label.
The chOOn is a mini-masterpeice, unflinching yet freewheeling that rivals anything on the Sublime Frequencies roster for searing, trance-inducing hypnotic choogle.
Mahmoud Ahmed & the Roha Band: “Unknown” (Unknown Cassette, 197?)
I suspect Mahmoud Ahmed needs no introduction here - after Mulatu Astatke he’s arguably Ethiopia’s best-known musician thanks to his momentous recording “Era Mela Mela” and other classics. He recorded “Era Mela Mela” with the Ibex band who disbanded in 1979 and whose fragments went on to form the legendary Roha Band - Ethiopia’s classic ensemble who recorded with nearly every great Ethiopian artist of the time. Since the late 1990s Ahmed has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in Europe and the Americas since Buda Musique launched the Ethiopiques series on compact disc.
Lovely instrumental by the Roha Band
Mahmoud Ahmed performing Era Mela Mela at the Barbican, London in 2008
Derboukas: “Danse de la Nubienne” (Camel Bossa, 1968)
An incredibly rare and much sought after oriental jazz oddity. This 7” by obscure arabic band (or are they a set of crack French session musicians) Derboukas on the scarce label Bagatelle. Both sides are fantastic. Check the subtle oriental-pop “Caravan March” on side 1 with a superb string section. But the chOOn is the B side with the infectious arabic psych jerk “Danse de la Nubienne” full of lilting flute melodies, jumping break beats and loud popping bass. Iueke - the droolworthy rare vinyl shop has the only mention online of the fabled Derboukas album Camel Bossa - WITH PREVIEWS of more Derboukas chOOns!
Les Mogol: “Iklig” (Danses Et Rythmes De La Turquie D’Hier À Aujourd’hui, 1971)
They would become the unofficial House Band of Anatolian Psych but when Moğollar (or Les Mogols as they were known in France) released their debut album in Paris they gained an enthusiatic following through their unique mix of acoustic instrumentation, traditional Turkish folk and beat driven psychedelia. Winner of the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque - France’s premier award for popular music - Moğollar’s debut is a treat from start to finish.
Companion blog to chOOn!! - a radio show on Glasgow's Subcity Radio. This blog was born out of the desire to bring the best of the most amazing online global music hotspots into one itty bitty living space.