Electric Jalaba began life as a collaboration between Soundspecies live band and Moroccan
Gnawa master musician Simo Lagnawi. In July 2011 Soundspecies (coalias
music producer brothers Henry and Oliver Keen) released the ‘Bamana Project’ 12″ E.P under
label ‘Round in Motion’. The music was a departure from their previous
productions and consisted of compositions interpreting Malian bass and
guitar riffs and twisted triplet feel drum beats picked up by Oliver during his travels in West
Africa. The record also featured the instrumental talents of younger brothers Nathaniel on
Guitar and Barnaby on keys and percussion, as well as friend and drummer Dave De Rose
(Moloko, Mulatu Astatke, Mark Ronson). The release spawned a powerful psychedelic
live project, which they paraded at various festivals and venues over the
It was whilst touring the Bamana project band, that the band crossed paths with Simo
Lagnawi. Simo is the leading UK player of the Guembri a
instrument made from camel skin. With a mesmeric voice and dance moves to match he is a
charismatic and engaging performer, swiftly gathering fans since his move from Morocco to
the UK 3 years ago.
They struck up a musical partnership that fully realised itself following a fourhour
in Simo’s Greenwich basement. It is from this session that material for the forthcoming album
was born, eagerly prepared and recorded after just 1 month and 4 more rehearsals together.
The music taps into both Simos deep, often mesmerising traditional Gnawa music from
Morocco and the band’s own multifaceted
musical background. It’s an original and
uncontrived fusion of musical influences with a nod to the worlds of jazz, techno, funk,
psychedelic rock and Desert blues.