Beautiful Baraka – The Spy From Cairo feat. Adil Smaali

The Spy From Cairo follows up January’s single, “Criminal,” with a new song featuring the Maghrebi-French artist Adil Smaali (of the band AYWA): “Beautiful Baraka” – meaning “blessing” in Arabic – fuses Smaali’s New Maghreb Sound with The Spy From Cairo’s signature “Arabadub” style. Smaali’s vocals are accompanied by virtuosic oud riffs, lush strings, and a syncopated piano line, all coming together over a reggae-inspired rhythm. The Middle East meets Jamaica.

The Spy from Cairo – Photo: Zeyad Gohary

“Animamundi” is a reconfirmation that The Spy from Cairo overcomes all obstacles & delivers a diverse progression of his iconic “Arabadub” sound, with the help of collaborators like Andalucian vocalist Carmen Estevez, Mexican vocalist Mambe Rodriguez on the heavy-hitting “Criminal,” Egyptian vocalist Adii Small on “Beautiful Baraka,” and former touring band member, the multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Fatima Gozlan from Hungary. The music can vary from heavy deep electronic synths and live eastern instrumentation with Zeb playing oud, saz, chiftelli, bass, percussion, and other instruments, all along giving it his signature dub mixing style.

The songs take inspiration from a wide range of musical traditions and cultures, including Turkish (on “Cosmic Pasha,” “Qanun in Dub” – using the qanun, an instrument popular across the Middle East, with a sound between the European harp and a dulcimer – and “Black Sea,” which utilizes a typical Dabke melody), Egyptian (“Mizmirized,” sampling riffs from a mizmar), Indian (“Seeds of Culture), and Sufi (“Divination,” a devotional composition), fusing these reference points with healthy doses of cumbia, funk, reggae, psychedelic, and dub. Thematically, “Animamundi” deals with some of the struggles Zeb – and all of us – have faced the last two years, through the lens of his personal experiences. Yet, the tone of the record manages to remain positive, like an uplifting dance through the world’s sounds; after all, “Animamundi” means “soul of the world” in Greek. With album art by Sam Angeli and layout design by Marcial Arts, this beautiful album is a truly well-rounded worldwide collaboration.

Adil Smaali

The Spy From Cairo’s new album, “Animamundi,” arrives on Brooklyn’s Wonderwheel Recordings March, 2022.