Lamajamal

Lamajamal

 Chicago, Illinois, USA
BandWorld

Lamajamal's music combines Middle Eastern and Balkan traditions with luscious, dubbed-out production and a rock band's sensibilities. Capable of dreamy, pensive soundscapes or raucous, jovial, party music, Lamajamal can take the listener all over the world, or just to the dance floor.

Biography

SHORT BIO:
Lamajamal was formed in Chicago in 2003 by Ronnie Malley, George Lawler and Joey Spilberg. Originally sticking to music from North Africa, the band soon expanded to include other musical traditions when Eve Monzingo and Gary Kalar joined the group in 2004. Lamajamal quickly became one of Chicago’s premier world music groups, playing at the Chicago World Music Festival 4 times in a row, including a stint as Turkish Roma clarinet wizard Selim Sesler’s band, and releasing an album of Kashmiri folk music underwritten by FUNKAR, a NGO promoting the preservation and appreciation of Kashmiri language and arts. Their latest LP, ‘Tsikago’ expands their sound further with more instruments, original compositions, and luscious studio production.

LONG BIO:
Lamajamal was formed in Chicago in 2003 by Ronnie Malley, George Lawler and Joey Spilberg. The trio formed out of late night jam sessions held at Tunisian percussion master Najib Bahri's studio. Originally sticking to a mostly North African repertoire, the trio recorded Lamajamal's first album, 'Lamajamal', featuring oud, vocals, bass, and percussion, but also hinting at what was to come: electric guitar, exotic percussion, and a little psychedelic programming and production.
Before long, fellow Chicago musicians Eve Monzingo and Gary Kalar gravitated to the group and brought their own personalities to the table - fuzzy electric guitar, clarinet, saxophone, the angelic hammered dulcimer, Greek, Turkish, Bulgarian music and styles. Lamajamal soon realized that the differences between the musical cultures they knew and the instruments they played were complimentary, not obstacles to be avoided.
After a few years of travelling, practicing, studying, and gigging, the expanded Lamajamal was back in the studio recording 'Gypsy Surf', a collection of Balkan and Middle Eastern folk songs adapted to the new ensemble with a rock band's sensibilities and a Roma band's repertoire. Through constant gigging, Lamajamal became one of Chicago's prime 'world music' acts, playing at the Chicago World Music Festival 4 years in a row, including a performance as Turkish Roma clarinet wizard Selim Sesler's band.
In 2011, after a few years in the studio, Lamajamal released two full-length albums, 'Tsikago' and 'Saazuk Safar (Journey of Instruments)' . 'Tsikago' finds Lamajamal expanding their sound further with more instruments - harmonium, tanbur, cumbus, accordion and a custom-built 'hand-drum set' - original compositions, and luscious, dreamy studio production. 'Saazuk Safar (Journey of Instruments)' showcases Lamajamal's reputation as cultural ambassadors and students of world music. It's an album of Kashmiri folk music given the Lamajamal treatment, underwritten by FUNKAR, a Kashmiri NGO concerned with the preservation and appreciation of Kashmiri language and arts.

Discography

2004 - Lamajamal - EP
2006 - Gypsy Surf - LP
2010 - Let's Go Gypsy Surf! - EP
2011 - Saazuk Safar (Journey of Instruments) - LP
2011 - Tsikago - LP