Kamal Keila Vinyl, CD & tapes by Kamal Keila at Norman Records

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Kamal Keila
Muslims and Christians

Jakarta sub-label Habibi Funk do a fine job of reissuing lost Arab classics. Their new series sees them turn their attention to the Sudanese jazz scene of the second half of the 20th century. A recent trip to the country brought the label bosses into contact with Kamal Keila, a bandleader and major player in the country’s musical landscape. After an Islamist revolution in the late 1980s, a change in the law meant that radio stations had to get musicians in for live sessions rather than air their previous recordings. Muslims And Christians combines takes from two sessions, one of which was definitely on 12th August 1992, across two vinyl. The band’s instrumentals draw from Fela Kuti, American funk and the grooves of neighbouring Ethiopia. Atop this Keila adopts a powerful stance, with his lyrics confronting everything from religious warfare to the country’s orphan problem.