Habibi Funk – July 20th

Like many of the veteran African artists recently uncovered for wider delectation, Kamal Keila gives good back-story. The Sudanese singer recorded these unreleased, lo-fi sessions for radio in 1992, delivering pleas for national unity (the title track), child welfare and agricultural reform in English to sneak them past the sensors of a country enduring civil war and strict Islamist rule. Over funk breaks with touches of sultry Ethiopique soul, where extended grooves flare with raw horns and bluesy guitar, Keila’s unrealised entreaties are performed with a levity that belies their severe subjects and mechanical titles. Yet the songs take on greater cohesion when Keila sings (presumably without the political edge) in Arabic, and it is the likes of ‘Ya Shaifni”s catchy tropical swing that best mark him as worthy of contemporary acclaim.

Buy: Kamal Keila – Muslims And Christians