Published Jul 09, 2018Muslims and Christians, by Sudanese singer/musician Kamal Keila, serves as a modern meditation on historical issues. Sung in both Arabic and English, Keila's take on Western funk, with a mix of Sudanese-styled jazz and Arabic zouk, is both throwback and forward-minded at once.
You can hear in opening track, "Shmasha," a Sudanese take on American blues, with Keila approximating the style while still finding his own vision. Across its ten tracks, Keila delivers earnest messages around bridging the gaps of understanding between Islam and Christianity, while highlighting the need for a long fractured Sudan — due to the longstanding effects of colonialism, war and corruption — to come together at last.
Keila has been making music since the 1960s, but due to the political nature of Sudan, radio stations were prohibited from playing label recordings on air, and artists were permitted only the chance to come to these to play live. According to Keila's record label, the musician managed to secure studio reels from his recording sessions in the 1990s, and the tracks and lyrics were updated for this project.
The end result is a sound that incorporates musical mindsets from that time to now: tracks like "Agricultural Revolution" sounds off in an early Afrobeat style; "African Unity" speaks on the much-needed concept by way of a reggae-flavoured riddim; "Sudan In the Heart of Africa" covers the nations unique geographical and historical legacy; while "Ya Shaifni" does the job in terms of Arabic groove.
While feeling a bit too earnest at times, overall Muslims and Christians jams when it needs, funks when it wants, while offering a lofty message that should be heeded. (Habibi Funk)