Published Sep 23, 2013Sam Shalabi originally hails from Montreal, but his latest album as the leader of Land of Kush has its origins in Cairo, Egypt. The Big Mango is out on October 1 through Constellation Records, and it's available to stream in full on Exclaim.ca.
Shalabi has made his home in Cairo since 2013, and the album is dedicated to — and takes its name from — the city. In a statement, the man himself described it as "a love letter to Cairo," inspired by "the beautiful, surreal madness of the city... as joyous, horrific, historical events were unfolding."
The album plays out at a 47-minute suite, on which free-form instrumental work mingles with sonically rich ambience and a tapestry of different styles ranging from Eastern music to Tropicália to rock. An examination of gender gives these diverse styles a thematic focus.
Shalabi captured the songs with his ensemble at Montreal's Hotel2Tango studio with Radwan Ghazi Moumneh on recording duties. Listen to the results below.