New Chaka Chouka album “Sharka”
The Chaka Chouka project and their album “Sharka” were never meant to happen. The covid 19 lockdown of 2020 seriously disrupted the lives of everyone on planet Earth but none more so than the musicians and artists who plan their lives months or even years in advance.
Simon Webster and Bernard O’neill have been playing together as a rhythm section for years, have travelled all over the world playing major world music festivals as well as working on the London session and studio scene together.
With weeks of lockdown looming, they decided to put their time and studios to good use.
Based on a drum and percussion loop that Simon had put on hold for a rainy day, he wrote “Gnaoua Reggae” on guitar and melodica in his studio in Meknès, Morocco where he lives with Mouna Eddrou, a French–Moroccan singer. Mouna added her vocals, the Chaka Chouka sound was forged and the project was born.
“Sharka” is a scintillating mix of reggae, Moroccan music and funk. Simon wrote the original music and plays drums, percussion, guitar and melodica
Bernard produced the album and plays bass, organ, keyboards and baritone guitar.
“Sharka” has lyrics in four different languages. Haji’s socially engaged dub poetry lyrics are complimented perfectly by Mouna’s Sufi inspired singing.
This vocal combination, thanks to Bernard’s excellent production remains a constant theme through out the album.
Morocco is a cultural crossroads where North African Berber culture meets the Middle East, the Sahara, sub-Saharan Africa and Europe. Chaka Chouka’s music is a reflection of this and also links seamlessly with the African roots, traditional “mento” music and jazz/ R n B influences of reggae. Listening to the album will infuse your senses with a unique blend of flavours from the Carribean, North Africa and the Middle East…….