"Nadjma - Rapture in Baghdad (1985) feat. Adrian Sherwood"

Arabic electropop & proto-experimental drum’n’bass (Irak/CH/UK)
   
Vocalist Nadjma (a Baghdad-born Iraqi-Swiss) and jazz guitarist & composer Gabor G.Kristof (whose family had left Hungary in 1956 to settle in Switzerland) had recorded three fun electropop tracks sung in Arabic. We came up with the idea to release them as one side of a mini-album, and to ask celebrated dub wizard Adrian Sherwood (On-U Sound, African Head Charge, Dub Syndicate and many more) to do some radical remixes which would make up the second side. Adrian accepted, but declined the offer to listen to the original songs prior to the mixing session, arguing that he preferred to discover them on the spot. He flew to Lausanne, came to the studio, listened... and was slightly disconcerted, as these sweet pop songs were unlike anything he’d worked on before. He soon proceeded to tear them apart and reconstruct pulsating tracks which sound somewhat like strange pre-drum’n’bass, using various sonic ingredients he had brought with him (including the sound of a knife hitting a wooden board, which served as a snare drum). For two of these remixes, Adrian enrolled Vincent Kenis, who played bass and contributed some effects.
 
The record came out with a title, cover art and track names which ironically played with orientalist tropes (Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio? Indiana Jones? Camels?!), while Nadjma’s lyrics subverted traditional gender roles, in humorous yet powerful ways. Her words are now being rediscovered by young Iraqi women, who find them bold and inspiring.
 
There was no follow-up: Nadjma became a photographer, storyteller and shamanic therapist, while Gabor Kristof developed the great music school he had founded in Geneva (the ETM), and wrote & recorded music for soundtracks (one of which, Le Cri du Lézard, largely based on atmospheric, bluesy pieces for acoustic guitar, was released as part of Crammed’s Made To Measure series in the early ‘90s). This mini-album made a mark: at the time, nobody had really recorded and released anything like these electronic rock songs in Arabic. And their combination with Adrian Sherwood’s mad excursions which populated the B-side was quite provocative. Adrian loved the experience, and included one of his remixes in his Sherwood At The Controls Vol.1 compilation (2015). Fun fact: despite the conspicuous lack of melodica, one of the track titles (South of the River Tigris) completes a series started by Augustus Pablo (East of the River Nile) and continued by Dr Pablo (North of the River Thames).
 
A gob-smacking mix of Iraqi vocals and Prince-style funk.” (Boomkat)


Releases

CRAMMED ARCHIVES 2 - RARE GLOBAL POP 1980S  - Rare Global Pop 1980s (Crammed Archives 2)
CRAMMED ARCHIVES 2 - RARE GLOBAL POP 1980S
Rare Global Pop 1980s (Crammed Archives 2)
crammedarchives2
CRAMMED ARCHIVES 2 - RARE GLOBAL POP 1980S  - Maurice Poto Doudongo - The Lost Album (1987)
CRAMMED ARCHIVES 2 - RARE GLOBAL POP 1980S
Maurice Poto Doudongo - The Lost Album (1987)
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CRAMMED ARCHIVES 2 - RARE GLOBAL POP 1980S  - Des Airs - Lunga Notte (1982)
CRAMMED ARCHIVES 2 - RARE GLOBAL POP 1980S
Des Airs - Lunga Notte (1982)
cram3174:outdec2
CRAMMED ARCHIVES 2 - RARE GLOBAL POP 1980S  - By Chance - Revenge/Soul Kitchen (1981)
CRAMMED ARCHIVES 2 - RARE GLOBAL POP 1980S
By Chance - Revenge/Soul Kitchen (1981)
cram3173:outdec2