Tag: Fusion Music

Cheb I Sabbah needs your help…



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Growing up in San Francisco, Cheb I Sabbah is a household name in the South Asian Fusion underground scene. I remember first seeing Cheb when I was 17, the way he mixed blew my mind because he was bold enough to experiment with different beats, rather than following a simple “trend” formula. Recently Cheb has been diagnose with stage 4 stomach cancer, like millions of Americans, Cheb doesn’t have health insurance, as we all know medical bills quickly add up. For uninsured Americans this is a walking nightmare; his family and friends has started a health care fund campaign for Cheb, please DONATE whatever you can. Urban Desi Radio would like to extend our warm thoughts to Cheb I Sabbah, he’s always been a supporter of ours, I remember when we used to send out facebook invites for people to listen to our show on 1170am, he would always respond yes, we were truly humbled to have his support.


Dear Friends and Fans of Cheb i Sabbah:

Recently, our dear friend and musical pioneer Cheb i Sabbah was diagnosed with Stage 4 stomach cancer at San Francisco General Hospital. He was advised that the cancer was spreading to his liver and left lung. Without immediate and proper treatment, the prognosis given is very grim. The phrase “weeks maybe months” was repeated to a devastated group of close friends and family who were there to support him as he received the heartbreaking news.

Like many Americans, “Chebiji” — as he is affectionately known — does not have health insurance. Private health insurance is astronomically expensive and public state funded health insurance barely provides the most basic treatment — and it does so only if you qualify. Due to his weak health condition, Chebiji found himself having to cancel live shows, meaning his income stream has come to a complete halt, with mounting medical bills and future medical costs ahead.

Upon learning of his condition, a few close friends and artists have come together to rally around Chebiji and assist him with his fight. Devastated by the news and outraged that an artist of Chebiji’s caliber cannot afford to care for himself and receive the proper urgent medical treatment needed, we have set up a fund to help.

Please help by donating and spreading the word to your communities. With our financial support, love and healing thoughts let’s help Chebiji receive proper medical care and beat this cancer.

Chebiji’s debut album for Six Degrees Records, Shri Durga, is considered one of the true classics of South Asian Fusion. Although he was born in Algeria, Sabbah’s unique affinity for the music of India and Pakistan has resulted in some of the most distinctively beautiful marriages of tradition and “DJ Science” ever recorded. Following Shri Durga, Sabbah’s recordings featuring collaborations with Indian master musicians include Krishna Lila & his latest studio recording Devotion as well as the Maha Maya remix project. On La Kahena (and it’s subsequent remix project La Ghriba), Chebiji returned to the music of his North African homeland with equally mesmerizing results.

Cheb i Sabbah has led a fascinating life, with stints as one of the very first DJ’s to spin records in the early Parisian Discothèques more than forty five years ago. As an actor he worked for two decades with the famed Living Theatre and as a director and cutup sound manipulator, he created the group Tribal Warning Theatre, performing with Psychic TV in his adopted home of San Francisco in the early eighties. He has managed the great Global Jazz icon Don Cherry who insisted that Sabbah continue his DJ mission and quoted him as “a professor of music”; Sabbah eventually ended up on stage with Don mixing layers, sound-scapes and beats way before software and laptops. As a promoter, under the banner of 1002 Nights, he was the first person to book concerts with artists like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Khaled, Hakim, Transglobal Underground and a host of electro and world musicians from Asia, Arabia and Africa.

Sabbah’s influence on the global electronic music and DJ scene cannot be over estimated. He has shown two entire generations that classical world traditions can blend beautifully and respectfully with DJ Culture. It is our hope that the many people from around the planet who have been touched by his music, might be able to give back however they can in his time of need.

The fans and friends of Cheb i Sabbah have experienced his music and artistic vision through his many albums. For those of us who can recount those ecstatic moments on his dance floors — whether in Goa, Essaouira, Moscow or at Nickie’s, where he ran an eighteen year San Francisco weekly residence, we know what a beautiful gift Sabbah has been to the world at large. This is our opportunity to give something back to Cheb i Sabbah in his time of need.

Please donate generously and spread the word about this wonderful artist and human being. Remember that this could happen to any of us. Donate not only to Chebiji but donate as a way of expressing your support for the millions of uninsured Americans who quietly suffer the undignified humiliation of not being able to fend for themselves simply because their economic and social status.

Thank You and Blessings to All.

Accent on the Music



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By: Reena Mumbai reenadotme@gmail.com

This is going to be the dumbest thing I’ve said in a while, but who cares. It’s like this… You know how when you’re listening to a new song and you’re totally digging it and all, and then you start torrenting the hell out of the band, and within three days you’ve committed their entire discography to memory? Right, and you’re all, “Man, this band is the greatest!” and then you find out they’re a French band, and then you’re all, “Wait, but they sing in ‘American’!”

I told you this would be dumb.

I guess, if I think about it, a lot of famous artists are not American and yet, when they sing, they can suppress their accents and sing in an American voice. Take Phoenix, for example. When I first discovered them, I had no clue they were from France. The same goes for the Radio Dept. They sing with American accents but they’re from Sweden. This doesn’t seem as strange to me, and maybe it’s because they’re Caucasian, because I’ll tell you, if I hear an Indian band sing, and they sound “American”, I’m floored down to hell.

Then I wonder, do singers from other countries practice singing in American accents? Or is it the natural inclination of the musically gifted? It’s the nature versus nurture quandry in the singer’s world. Do vocal cords know nothing of nationality? Or do people believe there is more cacophony in singing English language songs in American accents? If so, why? If you grow up in India, for example, surrounded by Indian accents, and you converse in that accent, and argue in it, and whisper disgusting nothings in each others’ ears in it, why then don’t you sing in that accent? And how come people from around the world are so capable of feigning American accents but Americans, on the other hand, swear they can do “the best British accent”, but come off sounding like a more egregious version of Renee Zellweger, a la Bridget Jones’ Diary?

It’s a puzzler, and I have no answers, but I do have some music from around the world, that I thought was good/interesting/not-good-nor-interesting-but-still-worthy-of-sharing. Is anyone else as curious as I am about what music means in other countries? The last three groups are actually pretty solid. The first two, definitely not my cup of tea.

India- This is a group called IAFWAY, which stands for “I Am Fake, What Are You”, and they are based out of New Delhi, (which, incidentally, is where my family is from.) This isn’t my genre of music. I’s very heavy on the metal and I would never be able to sit through an entire song of theirs, but I am just AMAZED that they can sound so NOT “Outsourced”. Unsaturated

China- This band calls itself Re-TROS. Again, I don’t like this music; it’s too rock-influenced, but still interesting to see what is coming out of other countries. Up Next: Bella Lugosi’s Back

Iceland- The band is called Rokkurro and the lead vocalist is Hildur Kristín Stefánsdóttir’s. I can’t even begin to imagine how to pronounce the first and last name. Her voice reminds of springtime, whatever that means. I really love this song. I Googled this group and stumbled upon their Tumblr and they use the same template for their page that I do! That pretty much solidified that they were a band worth following. Sólin Mun Skína

Singapore- I kind of love the sound of this group. They’re called Elektone and the synth and vocals remind me of the peg leg jeans I wore in 6th grade. Falling Into You

Ireland- Reverie is actually 21 year old Louise Connell whose album “Melodies” is a big, happy bowl of acoustic pop and ukelele strumming. Get to Know Me

So, there you are. Around the world in five international groups. Maybe you like some of them, maybe not. What do I care, really.

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