Updated: Aug 4, 2021
20 January 2021,
Wandering the streets of downtown Casablanca you may notice the difference between the new and old world, you may even walk across the central market and see old sellers lining one next to the other, and not so far you would walk across a record store that sells CDs and surprisingly vinyl. For a Casablanca citizen for my entire life that is just a Saturday evening walking towards the coffee shop to meet some friends but for the young Jannis Stürtz, it was just insanely inspiring and it created one of the few records interested in gathering authentic Arabic music.The year is 2012 the young Jannis walking down the streets of Casablanca and came across a record store and entered, after looking through few CDs, he came across the 70s song of fadoul singing over James brown song “ papa got a brand new bag”, the song is called “ sid reddad” , it got his attention, and pushed him to go in this crazy journey of creating the label and gathering all the forgotten masterpieces.Sid reddad took Jannis to run from one coffee shop to another looking for the Moroccan James brown’s relatives after he knew he died a few years before. After long hours of calls and trips, Sturtz found one of Fadoul’s sisters living in downtown Casablanca and was insightful enough to share beautiful stories about her brother who didn’t get enough attention compared to the way he put all his energy in music mostly and partly theatre.After putting the first records of Habibi funk the journey got wilder only to put the 6 future official releases, and Jannis has multiple crazy stories that showed how it’s very hard to find a relative or any kind of channel back to the artist that have created beautiful records over the last century, but Jannis always found a way around to get the record and put it to display for the general public.One of the craziest stories I have heard not only about Habibi funk but in the music field, in general, is the story of Jannis trying to get in touch with Ahmed Malek's family.
While he did his gig in Beirut he met a friend and shared his interest in reissuing Ahmed Malek records, and his friend suggested asking her friend from Algeria. Like any sane person, Jannis was very suspicious how 40 million citizens in Algeria Know that friend that can help. Surprisingly against the odds that friend was living in the same building as Ahmed Malek’s daughter and it helped reissue many records including Omar Gatlato and Henna.Even Habibi funk was very successful in publishing the rarest records but it was a very dangerous minefield because he’s a European who reissues literal cultural treasures from Arabic countries. Many artists and relatives can be very prudent about sharing work with someone from the west. Habibi funk works in a post-colonization context that makes it very hard to break the tension between both worlds, the west, and east, but the record tries to break that chain of steel and a bad relationship, changing it with love and mutual benefit. The records make it clear that all the rights are reserved for the original artists, and the profit is split 50/50 and also avoiding all types of stereotypes and bad Arab images, changing it with psychedelic aesthetic funky vibes that Habibi funk is known for.Each part of the Habibi funk journey can be a standalone article, as well as each individual artist published by the label. Moroccan writers will publish many articles concerning those underrated artists over the few next weeks. However, nothing can be as good as actually listening to those records and that beautiful music published by the most mesmerizing label.
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P.s: This is not a paid sponsorship, it's just true love and appreciation for Habibi funk.