Kalaha’s powerful and anarchist way of playing with genres and musical traditions shines through on their new album, ‘Mystafa’.
In recent years Kalaha have put themselves in the pole position when it comes to total genre boundary demolition, and the group mercilessly merge their personal artistic expression with musical impressions from around the globe. The listener is catapulted through fiercely kaleidoscopic party music; at one moment grooving at an electronic street party and throwing themselves into a euphoric tribal dance the next.
And in the middle of all this partying one senses a pensive approach to the sound of a globalized world.
There’s no doubt that Kalaha’s music is the kind that shouts you in the face, commanding you to loosen your tie and join the dance, but when you listen carefully, there’s also a quiet whisper in there, asking you to think of the world as a playground, and you’re invited to join Kalaha in their musical jungle gym.
The view from the top offers a veritable firework display of sound, playfulness and philanthropic electro-ethno-jazz.
The album “Mandala” gives you the sound of Kalaha as we’ve previously heard it on their two preceding albums – the live album “Hahaha” and the Danish Music Award-winning “Masala” – and from the many concerts the band has played all over the world since their debut at the Strøm Festival in 2013, but with the added dimension that Kalaha have invited the whole world in during the recording of “Mandala”.
Not just because of the eclectic mix of genres and global inspiration, but also in a literal sense. The album is teeming with guest vocalists and musicians, who, along with the group themselves, raise the roof on the party even further.
Among the guests on the album are Mamadou Sene from Senegal, Music Group NaMu from Korea and Danish-Turkish musicians Orhan Özgür Turan and Hilal Kaya. All the guests help nuance and spice up Kalaha’s sound universe which is already a broad mix of styles and sounds.
Kalaha are known for being eternally adventurous in their search through the outer limits of both the musical and the geographical spectre.
As a live act they are captivating and energetic and they are known to set the dance floor on fire and put their audience in a trance. To obtain this, the band uses elements of everything from psych rock and improv jazz to Anatolian funk and acid techno.
An now Kalaha are ready with yet another well-produced and genre-bending album, which includes the tracks, ‘Dans Det Op’, which has been a big radio hit in Denmark, and features Danish psych rock icon Uffe Lorenzen (of Baby Woodrose fame) on vocals, plus the political funk banger, ‘Özgürüm Ben’, which incorporates the band’s regular collaborator, Hilal Kaya, on Turkish vocals, and is currently getting a lot of airplay on Danish National Radio.
On ‘Mystafa’, Kalaha visit all four corners of the world; there is Brazilian samba from the west, Turkish 70s style music from the east, African highlife and desert blues from the south and Uffe Lorenzen, plus rising Danish folk star, Hjalte Ross, from the north.
Kalaha manage to create an entirely unique universe of sound, in which the listener is taking part in a trail blazing car chase through the bazaar of Istanbul in one moment, and in the next moment, they are floating through the cosmic eternity of outer space – only to land in the middle of a love ceremony in Mali, with Moussa Diallo as the high priest.
Especially the title track shows a far-reaching musical range and a certain flair for both depth and gravity, but also for humor, which according to the band itself is an essential part of the band’s fellowship and musicality.
NMR (Lis Kasper Bang)