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"Peter Gabriel"

Peter Gabriel shares his musical faves with Nigel Williamson - SONGLINES


First album with "Speed Caravan". Otherwise
Mehdi Haddab has released 3 LPs with the band EKOVA and 2 LPs with DuOud project with Smadj.



Release France June 16th 2008 (Newbled Records)
European release September 2009, USA 2010 (Real World Records)


Speed Caravan

Mehdi Haddab, pleasure guerrilla, defender of the dazzle, this glamour virtuoso leads his electric caravan at the speed of sound. Armed with his eclectic oud, he guides secrets out of the Orient, gleaned from old masters and spirits with the skids off, from Tizi Ouzou and Sanaa to Istanbul, taking them into the heart of wild raves, those blistering temples of rock, and to clubs for the kings of improvisation. With a gourmet smile or Marshall-amped trill, this Kabyle lute-player demolishes all the preconceived ideas of the shrines of style.

Speed Caravan is the product of a whole series of miraculous meetings on the peaceful crusades that Mehdi has led over the years with the more rebellious French singers, like Rodolphe Burger, Erik Marchand, Rachid Taha, Jacques Higelin and Alain Bashung, as well as the groups he co-founded - Ekova and DuOud.
It was when he acquired his first electric oud, improvising for hours with bassist, Pasco, that something clicked - and Speed Caravan was born.
Pascal Teillet or “Pasco” contributes more than a perfect mastery of his instrument. He also brings a wide musical imagination, forged alongside King Mensah, Ganoub, Mazaher and Archie Shepp. His powerful, but sensitive touch magnifies the grooves and sustains the acrobatic arabesques of the lute.
Hermione Frank is a longstanding accomplice from the days of Ekova. A journalist and, above all, an electronic musician, she coaxes unexpected sensuality from her computers, as well as unstoppable beats. Above all, she brings her open and unique mind.

Moroccan-born Mohamed Bouamar trained in the Arab/Andalusian tradition and is an expert cabaret musician. For many years he was percussionist for the Egyptian diva, Natacha Atlas. Last to arrive in Speed Caravan, “Simo”, holds down two key jobs: vocal arabesques and primary percussion.

Together, they laid the foundations of this project. And, in three years, its artistic support has multiplied, with lasting as well as fleeting collaborations with the other sonic guerrillas who have joined them on this first album. "Kalashnik Love" was recorded in those rare, quiet moments stolen from an overloaded schedule, with the unerring support of David Husser (Indochine, Lo Jo, …), met during the Marchand, Burger project. Outstripping his role as sound engineer, this maniac of extreme sounds, who runs at the same voltage as Mehdi, plunged body and soul into this rich and lavish sonic sculpture.

More than 19 other troops signed up for the crusade. Algira, Rabah Deymed, from the Algiers-based hip hop band, MBS, who shared the stage on Speed Caravan’s very first performances, joined the recording to lend a hand on “Aissa Wah”, a homage to the Sufi trance, distorted by blasts of wah-wah pedal. They also appear on a cover version of the Chemical Brothers’ “Galvanize” which, with its sample from a piece by Berber singer Najaat Atabou, inspired Mehdi’s reunion alongside MC Spex, former member of Asian Dub Foundation and Paul Kendall (Goldfrapp, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode…) on backing vocals, and Franck Vaillant (Lo Jo) on drums and Christophe Schwob (Jad Wio) as programmer.

Another decisive cover is the Cure’s “Killing an Arab”, where singer Wattie Delay, from Alsace, has the lion’s share and Rachid Taha cries out that he is the Arab, Albert Camus’ Outsider, which inspired Robert Smith’s title.

Mehdi also wanted to pay tribute to his Masters. Here, he plays “Daddy Lolo” by the Armenian star of oud rock, Charles "Chick" Ganimian, featuring the unique voice of Breton singer, Erik Marchand, who joins Bruno Ferrier on vocals.

The title track, “Kalashnik Love” used to be part of the repertoire of the Armenian Turk, Udi Hrant Kenkulian, whose innovations have left a beautiful trace in the history of the oriental lute.
He also wrote “Parov Yegar Siroon Var” a track that features three percussionists, Arnaud Dieterlen, Rocky Singh (Asian Dub) and Rabah Khalfa (Idir, Souad Massi), who also appear on the next track, “Idemo Dalje”, a traditional Bulgarian melody interpreted on the synthesizer by the young Serbian prodigy, Viorel Tajkuna.

Mehdi composed “Qat Market”, where his accomplice Abdulatif Yacoub, from the Yemeni adventure, DuOud, sings the praises of the psychotropic plant. On “Erotic Chitetelli” composed by Mehdi, David and Rocky, the oud and the guitars of David, Stephan Gensbittel and Rodolphe Burger tantalize a choir of sensual feminine whispers.

A few other tracks, never heard before, complete this new edition of Kalashnik Love.

“Dubaï” which measures the decadent scale of the mirage city, puts three singers to good use - Rocky Singh and Mohamed Bouamar, who are joined by