RC 239: Afro-Arab Part One – Cellphones & Icecream

Recently I’ve been checking out what has been called Electro Chaabi (or Cha’abi/Shaaby/Cha3by/mahragan aka ‘festival music’), the new-ish underground hiphop/pop music in Egypt, which led me back to the show I planned after going to Egypt and South Africa in 2011. In fact this music wasn’t new to me, it was all over Egypt blasting from the shops and phone places off a laptop. My queries where to get it or buy it were met with baffled looks and the response ‘mp3!’ and even 2 years later still it’s underground, not played on the local radio and usually performed live or traded in MP3s.

I had to make do with some rather too-shiny and western-style Egyptian pop music, and some local South African house/electro music usually hiked up to silly prices cos I was a tourist. I wasn’t really happy with it, hence not doing the show then.

But when I read the Quietus articles about the scene it also lead me to the Congo via Konono Nº1, Omar Souleyman and back to Sahelsounds who I originally planned to play some of ‘Music from Saharan Cellphones Vol 1‘ back then, but Vol 2 and some other compilations such as Nigerian Bollywood music have been released, and it makes for a much more interesting 2-part show!

So follow me from the Middle East to Africa, the Egypt to Syria, to Nigeria to Mali and South Africa…

Leave Your Camel After The Tone (1:01, 62Mb)

  • Amadou & Mariam – La Réalité
  • ? – Saraa
  • Elbab – Elgedeed4
  • Konono Nº1 – Paradiso
  • D’Banj – Oliver Twist
  • Omar Souleyman – Dazeitlak Dezzelli
  • Mai Dawayya – Ololufemi
  • Hakim – Telefon Zoghayar
  • Amadou & Mariam – Sabali (Vitalic Remix Radio Edit)
  • Soweto Stokvel Septette – Ice Cream and Suckers No 2
  • Sunny Ade & His African Beat – Ja Fun Mi (Instrumental)
  • ? – Friday (from Music from Saharan Cellphones: Volume 2)

(photo was taken just by Tahrir Square, November 2011)

Toys of Mass Destruction

Well not saying the Robokopter is a toy, but the very similar yet cheaper AR.Drone is…I wonder how long it’ll be before drones are used in news gathering and riot situations? I guess Mr Robokopter didn’t want his Canon camera trashed, but with cheaper cameras and broadcast/security situations I’m sure it’ll be soon. Helicopters are far from cheap too…and such devices can get in a lot closer.

I find it interesting how many toys are based on military technology (or maybe vice versa?) – from the drone to the Star Wars Mind Trainer which although originally based on medical technologies something similar yet more advanced is now being considered for fighting wars via mind waves. Certainly if the Middle East is anything to go by, the future of war is drones. Although that takes us into some Terminator/ethical style areas if an AI is used, or machine fails killing someone accidentally, or a random thought kills someone.

Even down to the humble phone, we now have image recognition with a single click – same technology was used to try and recognise rioters in London.

This knife of Sheffield steel: British arms in Libya and Bahrain

(Video is not for the squeamish; then again this is real unlike the Tyler video…)

Sorry to interrupt the music but unless you’re totally immersed in your XFactor/Gaga/CowellWorld you’d have heard of the successful peaceful protests in Egypt – and the more violent ones still going in Libya and Bahrain. The video above is gruelling; showing a peaceful protest gunned down with automatic fire. What you might not know is your government (British, Dutch and probably others) sold them the arms, or approved such sales…same is true of Libya where the tear gas and weapons used on the protesters there was sold via the British Government UKTI DSO, the same government of Hague and Cameron spouting platitudes about peaceful protest and telling such regimes off for using the equipment and arms they sold to them!

And as I wrote to Glenda Jackson – in this time of cuts the military complex is still humming happily, because the government organisation UKTI DSO was at the IDEX arms fair in the Middle East – I bet that was a jolly funded by us…so not only are they are helping to promote such murder, we are paying for it.

Please write to your MP if you’re in the UK or your representatives…and contact the Foreign Office and other steps mentioned in the article linked above…I of course support the protests and hope that peaceful change comes to all, and people power wins and even gets exported back to the UK…so I’m horrified to find that weapons sold from this country are being used to quash that, to regimes with bad human rights records and oppressive regimes.

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