the debut album ‘Habibi‘ by Babylon Trio is out now on Rebel Up Records (RUP006)
The current political state of Iraq is a far cry from what the Iraqi people envisioned. While the western media have largely stopped reporting about Iraq, in the past few months many protests have flared up in the capital Baghdad, Basra and cities allover the country. Persistent water shortages, power cuts, the lack of work and political corruption have angered the Iraqi population and protests have been the general order of the day and increasing by the month. The political elite has dug themselves in, protected and comfortable in governmental compounds, ordering police and the armed forces to crack down on protests with a shoot to kill on sight policy. In 2015, this ignited the first big emigration wave of young people and families leaving Iraq for neighbouring countries and the west and continues to do so. For many, returning seems very unlikely for the time being.
The three Iraqi musicians of Babylon Trio arrived in Belgium in 2015 as refugees of this political and social unrest. Arkan Mushtak is the composer and pinnacle of the band. Like the other members he hails from Baghdad, where from a young age onwards he has been shaped into a talented keyboard and piano player by Iraqi master composer Noor Sabah. He is accompanied by fellow musicians Saif Al-Qaissy (digital percussion, djarbouka and backing vocals) and singer Walaa Saad (vocals) and occasionally joined by Mohammed Algareb (guest percussion).
Babylon Trio plays an electrified mix of contemporary Iraqi and Arabic music styles, such as choubi choubi, dabke, maqam and electronic hybrids that put the dancefloor on fire. The trio’s debut album “Habibi” features songs about their old life in Iraq and new life in Brussels, Belgium, with topics such as separation from loved ones, love, beauty, honour and pure Arabic party bangers. This year will mark the power of the contemporary Iraqi street sound of Babylon Trio throughout Europe and beyond. Get ready for fire!
1. Bye Bye My Love ( وداعا يا حبيبي )
2. Iraqi Dabka Choubi ( چوبي عراقي )
3. Spoiled For Your Eyes ( لاجل عيونك / مدلل )
4. Difficult Separation ( فركتك صعبة )
5. Iraqi Prestige ( المعزوفة )
6. My Crazy Lover ( حبيبتي المجنونة )
7. The Euro Syrian Dabka ( الدبكة السورية الاوربية )
8. Habibi Trio Mix (Rebel Up Duckfood remix) ( مزيج حبيبي الثلاثي )
Released by Rebel Up Records on 26 september 2018.
This album has been made with the support of NGHE Mediatheque, cultural venue Les Ateliers Claus, Angstrom studio and Soylent Green studio in Brussels and everyone who has supported Babylon Trio in the past year, promoting, motivating and organising concerts for them.
produced by Seb Bassleer for Rebel Up Records
recorded at Angstrom Studio by Aymeric de Tapol & Nicolus Ripitus
mixed at Soylent Green Studio by Aymeric de Tapol
mastered by Frederic Alstadt at Angstrom Studio
cover design ‘Tapis’ by Kalām Collectif (facebook.com/kalamshift)
photo (backcover) by Robert Kroos (flickr.com/mentalyouth)
graphic design by Vanessa Verbeiren