Cairo Liberation Front
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Cairo Liberation Front (CLF) was started by Yannick Verhoeven and Joep Schmitz, two geeky, somewhat naïve Dutch devotees of Egyptian electro-cha3bi. This highly infectious music (which originated in Cairo) prompted the duo to assemble tracks and create mixtapes. The goal: to promote electro-cha3bi to the rest of the world. CLF’s mixtapes rapidly gained recognition from international media platforms such as the New York Times and the Guardian. As it turns out, their love for electro-cha3bi was just the root of their own musical journey. The duo became inspired to compose and create their own music, which resulted in ‘Nymphaea Caerulea’ (Höga Nord Rekords, 2017) where they joined forces with US-based psych producer Al Lover.
Besides such efforts in the studio their live shows caught on quickly as well, with electrifying sets at festivals such as Amsterdam Dance Event, Best Kept Secret, Dour, and Pukkelpop. As an extension of their giddy quest to spread cutting-edge Middle-Eastern sounds CLF initiated Eurabia, a self-curated club night based in Amsterdam that has featured groundbreaking artists like Rizan Said, Islam Chipsy, Maurice Louca, and Acid Arab. While the term ‘Eurabia’ originates from a dystopian and xenophobic theory suggesting that Arab culture is here to take over Western society, CLF has reclaimed the word as one positively embracing the emergence and hybridization of different cultures.
With their EP ‘Eurabia, Vol. 1’ (Byrd Out, 2018) Cairo Liberation Front introduced the world to vocalist Bagdaddy, who led the charge on tracks Tilly and Atash. This fiery punk, born in Iraqi and raised in the Netherlands, had never sang in her native language before. These songs gave her the incentive and space to talk about her own personal experiences and emotions as an Arab girl growing up in Europe. This first collaboration led them to team up more frequently, on stage as well as in the studio. Bagdaddy’s own attitude connected with the values and believes of the collective’s DIY ethos, so joining CLF as a full-time member felt obvious. Becoming a three-piece has led to a new chapter of the group. During their many live shows together new ideas arose, which has resulted in this new EP, ‘Eurabia, Vol. 2’. Here CLF experiments with new sounds without forgetting their electro-cha3bi and dance roots. On the leading single Basha, a track reminiscent of UK dance acts such as The Prodigy and Basement Jaxx, the unique vocals of Bagdaddy ensure a unique approach to electronic Arabic dance music.
Though its sample size is small, ‘Eurabia, Vol. 2’ offers a sprawling glimpse of Cairo Liberation Front as an original, free-thinking and tirelessly exuberant musical collective. These are songs built in equal parts of collaboration and friendship, exploring the endless possibilities in forging together mentalities that couldn’t be further apart in their execution and dovetailing everything under open-minded but well-honed production values.