Jamila & The Other Heroes
Sit El Kon (The Grandmother of the Universe) (CD / Vinyl)
“We come from manywhere and that's how we sound!”, says Jamila Al-Yousef about the debut album SIT EL KON of her band JAMILA & THE OTHER HEROES.
Jamila, the front singer of the band, was born in East Berlin on 9 November 1989, the day the wall came down. Manywhere, explains Jamila, not only refers to the different geographical origins of her band members; who are from Syria, Palestine, Poland as well as East and West Germany. JAMILA & THE OTHER HEROES are more than just five Berlin-based musicians who have overcome political and musical boundaries. JAMILA also is the name of Al-Yousef’s grandmother who died in 1953 in Sarra, a small Palestinian village in the mountains of Nablus. Listeners can hear her and the many other unheard voices of strong women worldwide (and sometimes men) pulsate through Jamila’s powerful vocals. They too are part of the OTHER HEROES.
SIT EL KON sounds like a boundless dream. It takes listeners on a furious journey through unconscious galaxies which unite us with the experiences and spirits of our ancestors that continue to exist on this planet in the here and now. Psychedelic guitar riffs are vibrating on a warm and earthy fundament of wavy bass runs and Arab percussion sounds. The dance floor they create is a breeding ground for people to meet - the band’s response to the currently operating exclusion mechanisms of our time.
Jamila’s at times soft and at other times emphatic voice harmonically weaves itself through dense and eclectic yet always optimistic sounding compositions. Her emancipatory lyrics invite listeners to show mutual empathy. The tracks on the album are in English and Arabic and feature stories about migrating families and feminist empowerment (Farashat); of a dream in which Jamila meets her grandmother in the universe (Sit El Kon); of letting go of loved ones who have passed on without saying good bye (Abu Dub); of journeys to heal the inner child (Inner Child); of proximity and distance dynamics in families (Khalas! The Umbilical Chord); of love in times of capitalism (Aliens in my Bed); and of the search for solidarity and a community, in which we no longer have to be alone with our feelings and where we support and inspire each other (Fight Club).
This notion of community is also deliberately reflected in the track SIT EL KON. This international musical project assembles guest performers, such as the Syrian exceptional trumpeter Milad Khawam, the Brasilian singer Danilo Timm and his Heart.Chor, the American violin virtuoso Roland Satterwhite, the Palestinian-German musician Dany Ahmad at the synth, as well as the musician and producer Naima Husseini.
The album was recorded analogue on an old Otari reel to reel tape recorder in the Berlin based recording studio Big Snuff. Big Snuff’s sound engineer Richard Behrens provided his collection of treasures from the 60s and 70s, thus allowing the band to produce the unmistakeable sounds of Moog synthesizer, a supro guitar ramp which amongst others Led Zepellin used for their recordings. The band also used the Telefunk Echo Mixer for voice effects.
The overall message of the album SIT EL KON is to animate listeners to connect and join forces: We all can become heroes. Discover your super powers and make the world a better place every day!