Habibi Funk dropping rare Sudanese soul/jazz by Kamal Keila


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German label Habibi Funk has dug up some more African rarities for our ears, this time from Sudan. Local musician Kamal Keila—dubbed the Fela of Sudan—never had a chance to release his music on vinyl or even cassette, as Sudan didn’t quite have the thriving musical scene as neighboring Ethiopia or metropolitan Egypt, or West African nations like Nigeria or Ghana.

“He did, however, record sessions for Sudanese radio,” the label explains. “In Sudan, the radio stations were not allowed to play the recordings produced by music labels on air, therefore they had their own studios and invited musicians to record music for their program. In most cases, the musicians would not receive a copy of the recordings out of fear that they would release the music themselves. But luckily, Kamal Keila had gotten his hands on two sessions and had kept those two studio reels all these years. Both tapes were in the most horrible condition with mold everywhere and obvious signs that they had gotten very wet at some point. Much to our surprise, they played very well.”

One of the ten tracks discovered is called “Muslims and Christians,” debuting here.

What sounds like a recording from the mid-’70s, with Ethiopian musical influences noticeable, the recording is actually from much later. The Habibi Funk guys were shocked when they found a sheet in one of the reels that dated the recording August 12, 1992.

The double-LP, Muslims and Christians, will be released by Habibi Funk July 6, and you can pre-order a copy now.


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