New Syriana album “1325 Ibn Battutah”
1325 Ibn Battutah was written by Simon’s long time rhythm section partner Bernard O’neill and is the second Syriana album. 1325 Ibn Battuta is due to be released in January 2024 by Realworld Records with a Digital distribution by Six Degrees records.
In February of the year 1325, the Moroccan lawyer, Battuta sent his 21 year-old son from their home in Tangier to complete the Haj in Mecca and study law in Damascus. He hoped the young man would become a judge, a mediator, and peacemaker, a good Muslim. He wouldn’t see him for another 24 years. Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Battuta, or Ibn Battuta for short, would become one of the greatest celebrities in the Islamic world. His 73,000-mile journey was twice the distance of Admiral Zheng Hi and almost five times that of Marco Polo. The memoir he dictated late in life, The Rihla, is one of the greatest travel stories ever written and remains in print to this day. His stories, and those he quoted of the many wives, concubines and slave women who travelled with him and bore his children are the inspiration for the second Syriana album, conceived by Bernard O’Neill and Nick ‘Dubulah’ Page
1325 Ibn Battutah is dedicated to the memory of musician and producer Nick “Dubulah” Page who along with Bernard and Abdullah Chhadeh wrote and produced the first Syriana album. A hugely talented and accomplished musician and producer, Nick’s influence on the musical world is hard to describe properly with words but the line-up of musicians who jumped at the chance to play on this second Syriana album is a tribute to his influence and memory.
Bernard composed the album using some of Simon’s drum and percussion samples, many of which also appear on the final album version. Simon also played percussion on on the majority of the album and has writing credits for 3 tracks.
1325 Ibn Battutah loosely follows Ibn Battutah’s epic 14th century journey around the Mediterranean countries, North Africa and the Middle East. So it was only fitting that before the covid period, Bernard went to Simon and Mouna’s riad in Meknès, Morocco where he recorded Mouna’s voice, Simon’s percussion and Anouar Dekkaki and his Sufi musicians in situ. Indeed the album starts with a track featuring these fantastic Sufi musicians.
Even though not officially released, 1325 Ibn Battutah is already receiving rave reviews. The first single “Law inta kont hina” featuring Natacha Atlas and Matthaois Tsahouridis was released on September the 30th 2023.
Another long time friend and collaborator of both Bernard and Simon, Nico Piazza has realized the video for this single with his usual flair and talent. Simon and Mouna are immensely proud to be on this album and encourage everyone who reads this post to check it out.