Your Middle East
Last updated: 29 January, 2016

Here’s the latest mix of Habibi Funk – plus a word with the DJ on the joy of Arabic vinyl

The 5th volume of the Habibi Funk mixes has been released – you can listen to it above. To mark the occasion, we also reached out to the man responsible for bringing us this exciting stream of groovy Arabic music.

“2015 was an incredible year for Habibi Funk”, says Jannis, the man behind Jakarta Records. Since his Habibi Funk remixes were released last year, Jannis has had the opportunity to play in over 30 DJ gigs across the Middle East, from Tunis to Beirut. 

He spent most of the last five weeks traveling in North Africa and to the Levant: “I went to Morocco, Lebanon, and Egypt and besides locking in two more releases of old Arabic records (Ahmed Malek and Al Massrieen) it was time for another mix”. So Jannis gave us volume 5 of Habibi Funk, which you can listen to in the Soundcloud clip above.

In an email interview, we asked him how this whole thing started.

Your Middle East: What made you start looking for these vintage Arabic songs in the first place?  

Jannis: “It was a pure coincidence. I went to Morocco with an artist from my label Jakarta Records called Blitz The Ambassador. He played Mawazine festival and I stayed a bit longer and did some diggin. This is when I found the first Fadoul record and some other stuff, I didn’t know existed. I guess this trip is what got me hooked.”

Are people surprised when you travel to these cities in the Arab world, coming to look for groovy tunes? 

“Yeah, I guess. It’s quite a high level of dedication or nerdery. Whatever you wanna call it. I think 2015 I have been to the Arab world like 12 times. Luckily I get booked to DJ a lot nowadays so I can combine looking for records with DJ gigs which makes it a lot easier.”


What has the response been so far to these mixes?

“Very great. When I started doing this I would have never expected that this would become what it is now. I mean I originally only planned this as a little mix for friends and people following Jakarta. I was really taken by surprise that so many people seem to share my musical interest. I especially like the fact that it’s equally people from “the west” as well as the Arab world who seem to be listening and following Jakarta Records and the reactions are pretty similar no matter where people are from: ‘Wow, I didn’t know this music existed…'”

Can you share with us your favorite memory from your “music travels“?

“There is more then one. In general I really like meeting the musicians of the music I like and quite some of them are still around and it’s nice to make them realize that people still care for the music that they did 40 years ago.  

One memorable moment was definitely sitting down with Fadoul’s sister who we searched for for years. We played her her deceased brother’s music which she hadn’t heard for 30 years. You can imagine it was quite an emotional moment for everyone.”