Integrating Arabic and Oriental music styles with Western dance music tropes, Jugurtha’s new album has lofty aims to bridge both artistic and political gaps between Arabic culture and the Western world. ‘Jugurtha’ was the name given to the king of Numidia who fought to free his North African kingdom from Roman Rule.
By mixing traditional Arabic music with a heavy influence of Western house, they hope to keep those traditions alive and thriving in the modern world, showing just how when two different genres combine, they can create something which is versatile yet alluring. Jugurtha’s aim is to deconstruct what they call the ‘derogatory image’ of the Arab world, whilst allowing a new generation to maintain their cultural heritage in an industry that is increasingly dominated by the mainstream pop music. By throwing the spotlight on the Arabic music traditions whilst combining a domineering heavy house beat, the target is to attract new Western audiences as well as keeping the next generation of Arabic musicians interested in musical traditions.
It’s a laudably ambitious aim, backed up by the decision to fund the project completely from scratch – with no outside funding or interference, Jugurtha has had the artistic freedom to produce their own style of dance music. A great example for young people, who they fear will fall into the trap of ‘hyper-consumerism’ and materialism, there is a real independent spirit to the album. It’s no surprise then to learn that the group immersed themselves in anti-establishment culture to inform their work throughout the writing process.
The album’s lead track ‘Arab Lovers’ can be heard below, alongside the oddly compelling video – a collection of Arabic film clips showing the titular ‘Arab Lovers’ from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s.
Video ‘Arab Lovers’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsPFlH5K-XI
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