Haji Mike
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Haji Mike

Band World Reggae


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Cyprus-based artist Haji Mike's album "Aphrodite's Dream" is filled with his unique music which is the fusion of reggae, rap and Greek popular music rebetika. It shows his great talent for music. I feel that rap manner is strong than reggae, but I smiled to hear Answer-like rhythm in "Ledra Street" and Far East rhythm on "Reggae Reggae Reaggae (So Sweet)". "Reggae Reggae Reaggae (So Sweet)" is a combination style of reggae DJ and singer. The singer Kyppa Ranks's voice sounds smooth and nice. Outstanding tracks are "The Things We Do", LKJ-like rap featuring female voice, and delightful instrumental track "Aphrodite & The Lion". - JAH ITAGAKI REGGAE LIFE


Hatred is divisive. In so many places around the world old lies and common sense half truths pile up - decay and rejuvenate themselves. Cyprus is no different from anywhere else in this sense. Amongst a vast ocean of misconceptions about "each other" and "ourselves" a few poets, musicians and producers have created this music with a positive message. It was no easy task and may be this is what makes Cyprus so uncomfortably exceptional. 28 years of division and working together is still a taboo subject! All the songs recorded were created mutually via the internet in three different studio locations. That in itself makes this one of the most unique recording projects of this new millennium.
The determination to create works together makes Poetz4Peace really tick. Our mission is peace and the music is some of the most positive vibes ever to come out of the deepest Mediterranean.

Poetz4Peace are a group of poets, singers, musicians, and studio personnel who believe true world peace can be achieved through the universal language of music. Much of the creative process was done through the magic of cyberspace. Olive Tree Music and Poetz4Peace first came together via the Internet, exchanging beats, ideas and lyrics online. After completing the recording the group developed the first cyber music label based in Cyprus. One of the offshoots of the company, in collaboration with Positive Sound Massive Recordings, is a remix site where people around the world can remix one of the band's tracks.

Who are they, these Poetz4Peace?

Zeki Ali - Steffen Franz - Haji Mike

An international collective of musicians, vocalists, poets and studio personnel who have teamed up to make some amazing musical and lyrical fusions. We work in many different locations in Cyprus and in the USA; aiming to be transglobalculturalists- with a shared perspectives. The overall aim is to establish an independent, positive minded music label by the end of 2003 and in the meantime share some reasoning with audiences throughout the world.
What they saying?
Steffen Franz aka Stand Out Selector - San Francisco based producer, remixer, beatmiester/PSM label founder. Facilitates the process and keeps the team inspired: Our mission, to make this music heard throughout the world and to enjoy the knowledge that we are doing something that is changing the world around us for the better. Steffen has produced over 30 full length CDs including tracks, albums and remixes with internationally known artists such as; Barrington Levy, Nicodemus, Shinehead, Mix Master Mike, Rocker-T, Jamalski, Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus, and Automator (aka Dan Nakamura), just to name a few. His production style favors early KRS-1's "edutainment" style and hybridizing Dancehall Reggae and Hip Hop riddims.

Zeki Ali -poet/writer and radio presenter As a poet in a small island community Zeki strongly believes that peace is inevitable and division will be a subject in the history books. But he also believes that we can't sit down and wait for it. Our trials will be the greatest gifts to our children and we lovingly take our part in it. Peace is not just an alternative to war: its a way of life. A universal religion. We are simple people who are proud to be simple. We have nothing to lose. Instead of being the objects of manipulation by others we prefer to stand up and say you can not be right on everything and every time. We don't want to see our future blocked by the mistakes of people from the past.

Haji Mike: poet/musician/producer /vragga dagga don: It all came about as a natural process - as if it was really meant to happen for a reason. One day we'll go down in the history books. Most of all, the optimism of doing something actually locally based, professional and forward thinking, that's what makes it so fresh - so daring and so different


It's time to look again at Cypriot raggamuffin star Haji Mike's latest offering. As a resident of this currently wintry gray and unpleasant isle he made a name for himself as a poet and recording artist. Now resident in the warmth of Cyprus he is well known as a presenter of radio and tv shows there, but sporadically he finds time in between to do a little music. His latest offering, Aphrodite's Dream (HMP), should really be considered more of a poetry album. The rhythms may be sun-dried Mediterranean Studio One olive grooves, but the words set it apart. You get humor mixed with social comment chronicling life in the fish-and-chip shop on "Chippy," while "Ledra Street" is a heartfelt cry about the street which is actually physically divided down the middle and symbolizes the injustices of the division of Cyprus. There is no slackness in any of the lyrics as we would expect from such a intelligent and highly educated chap as like wot Haji Mike is. Music score? Well, I'd give it 6 out of 10; words-wize, well, we are talking about 9 out of 10.


This is my first taste of the independent Cypriot record label Olive Tree and the artist Haji Mike. ‘The Story Man’ is his third release and is a mix of reggae, dub poetry, dancehall and hip-hop styles.

My immediate impression, especially from listening to the opening track ‘What Kind of World Are We Living In’ is the similarity to that of Gary Clail’s ‘Emotional Hooligan’ album. ‘The Story Man’ was recorded in Nicosia, London, Athens and San Francisco with production from Stand Out Selector. It also features a host of special guests, which makes for an extremely varied mix of tunes and styles.

Personally I found the need to spin this release several times before I became accustomed to Haji’s unique vocal style which is deep, bass filled and more often spoken word, rap-style, than actual singing, which is nicely complemented by many of the guest vocalists. The whole album is very ‘deep’ and low-end bass heavy, sometimes bordering on industrial. Those of you with a powerful sub are in for a serious treat!

Haji Mike powerfully narrates his perceptive and astute lyrics, never cutting corners; he is a social observer and comments on subject matters as diverse as Greek weddings, bling, war, self destruction and love. This is highlighted by tunes such as ‘Friday Night@The Dog & Duck’ and ‘Plastic People’.

There are some very interesting and original pieces of work on this release such as ‘Bling, Bling, Bling’ featuring Greek rappers Imiskoubria. This is a hard-hitting cut in a dancehall style, exploring the bling culture of modern music, lyrically very shrewd with lines like ‘some would sell their own mother to get the Grammy, some would sell their own father to get the Grammy, they sell them soul for twenty pieces of silver, sign on the dotted line and the dollar flow like a river’.

Other stand out tunes include ‘Party@Ledra (refix)’ with P4P Riddim Section, a down-tempo, head nodding riddim cut with hip-hop style vocals. This is followed by ‘We Don’t Want War!’ featuring Greekie Lion, MD & CSE-ONE, this is heavy on the kettle drums and creates a real feeling of Greek emotion. Vocals flick from Rap to spoken word via reggae Deejay style. ‘Just a Camel Herder’ featuring Rocker T & Zeki All, will have you bouncing, with its imaginative hip-hop instrument arrangements. ‘Plastic People’ is an edgy and dark tune, intelligently attacking governments, celebrities, war, false hopes and modern plastics lives!

The album continues in this vein, with seventeen tracks in all, including instrumentals and dubs, with scratching, breaks and samples. This is a truly diverse and inventive piece of work, with heavy emphasis on creativity, intelligent lyrics and interesting musical arrangements. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by 'JumpUp' WEB SITE




How much are words worth?
Just exactly where is the value?
Words can be cheap and profitable. But there is always a price to pay in undervaluing language.
Mr. Haji Mike never cuts lyrical corners. The polymorph wordsmith from the London musical and lingua melting pot glides effortlessly from Green Lanes to the Green line. As a social observer and commenter with an acute understanding of the world around him, Haji Mike speaks the truth, talking about what is going on in the world and with that rare talent - humour and humility.
‘The Storyman’ is his latest featuring collaborations with various interesting bods from Cyprus, Greece, the UK and the West Coast of America. With it he has created more vocal and riddim bounce than is generally legally allowed.
Haji Mike brings people together on this major release. Like the Griots, the Soneros, the MCs and the Cypriot Chatista raconteurs trading insults and wise cracks at a traditional wedding.

Haji Mike is reflecting life back to us.

Dave Hucker, The Beat...



Haji the album ‘The Storyman’ is great. I am so pleased you have gone right back to your roots. The collaborations are excellent and the lyrics great. Well done to Mike Cherry/CES-ONE/P4P Riddim Section/Greekie Lion/Rocker T/Zeki Ali /Cutmaster G and also the fantastic Imiskoubria. The tracks ‘What kind of world are we living in’ and ‘Everybody Love’ are so important. The sound is excellent and I love the vibe. The sound is raw.‘Greek Wedding’ is such a funny song because the lyrics are so true.

‘Bling Bling Bling Pt II’ is my favourite track on this album. Imiskoubria blend in well with Haji. Very original and excellent to listen to. I love all the tracks especially ‘Party @ Ledra’,’We don'twar’,’Baby to a child’. The song ‘Friday night @ the Dog and Duck’ has lyrics that are raw and very true. Unfortunately there are people that live for the violence and look for the fight. I see it too many times when people can't take their drink or argue over something really stupid. As a DJ who plays every weekend I see the stupidity and how people can react.

All the tracks have a story to say. Well done to the whole team for a very original album.



Various 12” singles 1990 –1993 ‘As’Ta Narkotika’, ‘Mousiki’ ‘Stavroulla’ ‘Vragaman’ & ‘Chakaramak’ (Kebab Kulture Music).

Toured UK 1990-94, including WOMAD, Jazz Café, Ronnie Scott’s and Brixton Academy.

Featured artist on debut LP by Izit ‘The Whole Affair’ on tune ‘Sugar & Spice’ Tongue & Groove Records 1992.

Appeared on BBC TV's ‘Rhythmns of the World’ featured on John Peel & Andy Kershaw with several live sessions.

Released 3 solo CDLP’s to date, ‘Haji Mike on the Mike’ KKM 1994 & ‘Aphrodite’s Dream’ HMP 1997 AND 'The Storyman' 2006.

Also 1 Compilation released with Dirry Harri (aka Harri Kakoulli – ex-Squeeze bass player) called 'Haji Mike meets Dirty Harri Vol 1' (Axion/Greece).

Featured artist LP by Hmiskoubria ‘2030’ (DefJam/Universal/Greece) on tune ‘Hmiz & The Haji’. Will also be on their summer 2006 CD on MINOS/EMI

Founding member of Olive Tree Music, an independent community based music label funded by UN in Cyprus. 2003.

Founding member of Poetz4Peace music and poetry group – released CDLP, 2003.

Executive producer ‘Cyprus Thing Vol 1’ double CD – Olive Tree Music, 2004.

Published poetry in Anthologies by ‘Apples & Snakes’ Poetry Collective (UK) and ‘Vira Vira (UCFA – Cyprus).

Summer 2004, tour as part of Poetz4Peace, west coast USA – including The Sierra Nevada World Music Festival.

Negotiated publishing and distribution contracts on behalf of Olive Tree Music with IDC (Independent Distribution Collective), IODA (Independent Online Digital Alliance) and Corsair Media, Los Angeles, USA.

Media Director, Cyprus Splash Concert, featuring Blue, Big Brovaz, & Javeen July 2005.

Executive Producer CD single ‘Music Is Joy’ on behalf of Olive Tree Music with support from UNDP.

Executive Producer CD single ‘Safe Sex – Just Do It’ on behalf of RUBSI with support from UNDP as part of World International AIDS Day.

Completed 3rd solo LP ‘The StoryMan’ due for release in 2006 – produced by Stand Out Selector, Tony Matthew and Haji Mike. Recorded in San Francisco, Athens, London and Nicosia.

Worked on several radio and TV stations in Cyprus 1992 - present – including Radio Broto, Sigma TV, CyBC 2 & Radio Napa. Podcast Consultant and full time Assistant Professor at The University of Nicosia.

Currently working on new material with DOn V Louie of Spill The Milk Productions, London



Haji Mike started out at a DJ at Essex University spinning reggae and soul in the late 1970's at parties and on the local campus radio URE. He became one of the most in demand DJ’s playing at concerts for the legendary Misty In Roots, Osibisa, Clint Eastwood & General Saint and organized regular events with a group of like minded people who formed RAS – The Reggae Appreciation Society. After completing two degrees he moved back to London and started another, a PhD, in Cultural Studies. His passion for music developed hand in hand with studying. Initially experimenting in a couple of bands and then going solo in 1990. Haji Mike also established himself as a freelance music journalist, working for magazines such as HipHop Connection, Straight No Chaser, Reggae Report USA and various others. He interviewed many dancehall, roots reggae, world music and jazz artists. A lot of these interactions increased his knowledge of the music industry, who to talk to and how to approach them.

In 1990 his first single ‘As’Ta’ was released on an unsuspecting London Reggae loving and Cypriot public. 500 white labels were pressed and within 2 months Haji Mike, much to his bank manager’s surprise had broken even. Being in the right place at the right time, Haji Mike found himself talking to TV Producer Jenny Cathcart, who included him on BBC TV’s ‘Rhythms of The World”. This led to a collaboration with innovative music producer Simon Booth (Working Week, Afro Celt Sound System, Baaba Maal ). Simon took Haji Mike in a new direction with his next single ‘Mousiki’ a Cypriot version of ‘Murder She Wrote’. The song was widely appreciated for its respect to the reggae genre, and even in 2006 some 14 years after its release hit top the top twenty in SoundClick.com’s reggae chart (out of a total of 6,212 songs)

Haji Mike made more singles and grew steadily in popularity through several live radio sessions for Andy Kershaw and John Peel (RiP). Also in 1992/3 back in his home of origin things took off in a massive way. During that year he made 12 trips to Cyprus and topped local charts with two songs that changed his whole musical career - ‘Stavroulla’ and ‘Vragaman’. Following this he returned to Cyprus, produced weekly radio and TV music shows, and toured extensively, including Ireland, South Africa, Germany, Greece and USA. Haji Mike Music Productions was also established, as a continuation of his work on Kebab Kulture Music.

People far and wide acknowledge Haji Mike for his intellect, witt and musical innovation. He still remains a unique recording artist, one of a kind in reggae, Cyprus and the world of music.

His latest release 'The StoryMan' drops May 1st 2006 and is already getting some rave reviews and airplay. Several songs from this CD have entered the charts at www.soundclick.com with 'The Drum' topping the Poetry Chart for two whole weeks in April.