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‘One Summer…’ New Haji Mike & Kingdom Signal launched live on Radio out of Corsica, Cyprus and London

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dl coverRadio brings people together, it always and always will. Haji Mike in Cyprus linked up with Gibsy Rhodes aka Kingdom Signal in the summer of 2014 via Versionist Radio. Gibsy wanted to do a Haji Mike Special so he requested a few tunes. This led to an invite to Haji Mike to join the station, which happened shortly afterwards. Versionist was also known as the ‘Village Radio’ and would later transmute into ‘OuttaMiYard Radio’ where people from different locations around the world switch studios every couple of hours like as one Reggae/Dub Radio Marathon. Radio also brings people together through music and is a vital media for musicians as a platform to showcase their creations. Haji Mike realized this when he started releasing independent music in 1990 via London. ‘The first time I did a radio session for Andy Kershaw I was over the moon. In fact Kershaw was the first person to play ‘Stavroulla’ one of my early releases in Cyprus’ says Haji Mike ‘ and that concept of the live session, where musicians jam on air was crucial for many artists like myself back in the day as a way of getting exposure.’ Fast forward, 27 years and the live radio session is just as important but something fundamental has changed in the meantime. The Internet gives everyone the opportunity to play live on air from any place and any time as long as the technology works. So Haji Mike & Kingdom Signal, follow in the that fine live radio session tradition this month with a couple of special exclusive shows to launch their new release ‘One Summer’ (Power of Love Records) which came out on May 1st. Dates as follows for the sessions and interviews:

LIVE SESSION HM, KS CORSICA OMY RADIO

Weds 10th May 17:00–21:00 UTC+02 (4-8pm, UK – 6-10pm, CY) OuttaMiYardRadio Live Session Episode 1 – Live and direct from Kingdom Signal Studios, Corsica Haji Mike & Kingdom Signal play ‘One Summer…’ in full plus dubplates, selections and tunes galore as the two Kings of The Mediterranean Underground meet for the first time on Air.

Tune in here——> outta-mi-yard-hm-main

Thurs 11th May Live interview with Jahmon Selector (Belgium) on OuttaMiYardRadio 18:00 – 18.30  Tune in here——>    outta-mi-yard-hm-main

Thurs 11th May Live interview with DJ Debbie Golt on The Outerglobe (UK) on Resonance FM 7.40-8.15 pm  Tune in here——>  resonancefm_logo

LIVE SESSION HM, KS CORSICA GBR RADIO

Fri  12th May 5-7pm UK (7-9pm CY) GreekBeat Radio (UK)  Live Session Episode 2 live and direct from Kingdom Signal Studios, Corsica Haji Mike & Kingdom Signal perform ‘One Summer…’ in full plus dubplates and selections. Tune in here ——————>greekbeat

What people have been saying about ‘One Summer…’   

‘Lush New Dub Sound’ – Sarah Fenwick – Cyprus News Report

‘Meditative’ Sista Skanka – OMYRadio

‘Hypnotic’ Dub Thomas – Dubophonic/OMYRadio/RastFM

‘Fabulous!’ Dj Mario Greekbeat Radio

‘A contemplative call to action, earthed in the cosmos, rootical, soaring, essential!’ Debbie Golt Outerglobe/Resonance 104.4FM

‘Many things…an awakening, fresh, exciting, earthy, witty, poetic, summerness, takes you on journeys, bittersweet and ambitious’ Stelios Keryniotis, Astra Radio Cyprus

 

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The New release ‘One Summer…’ is available through  Google ,24/7 ,7 Digital, Amazon MP3, BounDEE, Emusic, iFeel Music, iMusica, iTunes,Juno, MediaNet Mobile Partners: AMI Entertainment & Gracenote – Streaming – Napster/Rhapsody/YouTube Art Tracks and many more….

 

 

 

Also check the video for ‘Stargazing’ by Haji Mike & Kingdom Signal

stargazing

Web Links:

Power of Love Records on Facebook

Haji Mike & Kingdom Signal Bandcamp

Kingdom Signal Soundcloud 

Haji Mike

For more information contact  POLRecords@protonmail.com

 The ‘Haji Mike & Kingdom Signal Live Corsica Sessions’ are supported by

politistikes logo final 0317 - EN - brown  pol logo  outta-mi-yard-hm-main  greekbeat

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George Michael and being Cypriot – 12 things you might like to know….

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Before you start reading the blog…click on image below to hear The George Michael Street Mix on Mixcloud as you read…words and music go hand in hand…Also bare in mind this blog is a work in progress, just like the campaign to have a street named after George in Cyprus, so changes, adaptations will be made regularly…..

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Every one who is a Cypriot in the UK will have had or have claim to have had a link to the late George Michael in some way of another. Most of these ‘links’ are caught somewhere between adoring fandom and lameness. Just rewind to the early 80’s and how many Cypriot teenage girls screamed and scrambled their way to the front of Wham gigs – plus how many young guys copied the peroxide hair style with the flick. On the mundane there are always people wanting to sell a story to a popular rag like The Sun proclaiming something rather dull about George or his dad. Like, ‘I lived and worked in North London and so did his dad’ – what a ridiculous link to make – millions of people lived there, doesn’t mean much really.  It is the price of fame, everybody knows you but hardly any one really does.

My only link, aside from the great tunes he made as a solo artist (not really a big Wham fan) was a chance encounter with his father Jack a couple of years ago in a friend’s tea house in Cockfosters. He was a such a humble man and we chatted for about an hour. I didn’t blog about it at the time or post photos all over cyber space, nor will I now, out of respect for the family’s privacy in a time of mourning.

What has always fascinated me about George is his Cypriot link and what he meant to a whole generation of people of  Cypriot origin as a role model. He kind of set the sound for singers to follow but what many sound a-likes never realised was he had the soul to be himself. How many people xeroxed that voice or tried to at least – often Greek wedding singers or youth just wanting a pop career as an easy way to become rich. But none of that success and fame came easy.

What George Michael reflected more than anything is that pattern of migration, and achievement through hard work.  Coming from a Cypriot father from the small  village of Patriki in Karpasia and working class English mother who was a dancer, George literally leapt in terms of social mobility over 2 generations. That is in some ways the dominant British Cypriot work ethic, emigrate, work hard, and move on. It makes a lot of sense. Even in one generation our fathers and mothers came from villages with no electricity in the 50’s and 60’s, often working from the age of 14 to a radically different life in the UK say 30 years later doing everything for the future of the next generation. So here are a few things/thoughts/insights on George Michael and being Cypriot:

  1. George would say often say in interviews ‘the only Greek thing about me is my hairy chest’ and that was so easy to misconstrue. But he would also follow it up with what he got from his father, that determination to work hard and succeed, and that he considered himself a 2nd generation son of an immigrant. That word ‘immigrant’ has become almost a dirty word nowadays, but George always used it proudly. Watch video here on MEGA TV Greece around 5.31. So he was proud of his roots, his parents, and where he came from. This theme is also explored in one of his songs ‘Round Here’ where he talks about his upbringing and how his dad ‘ got here on the gravy train’

2. George Michael’s first interview in Cyprus was with John Vickers in 1984, in his Wham days, for CyBC 2 Radio, the state broadcaster. John is a rare kind of journalist in Cyprus and he will admit it himself, interviewing George Michael  topless was an honour!!!

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3. Charity and George Michael go hand in hand. He was one of those people who did not like to broadcast his name all over everything but the people who knew, the people who benefitted from his charitable donations always held him in high esteem. He was the main benefactor for The UK Thalassemeia Society, which has been in existence for more than 30 years and has amassed a wealth of experience on Thalassaemia, that most dreaded of ancient  Cypriot diseases. I can recall performing with DJ Peter Lewis and Soul Singer Irini at The Community Centre in Wood Green for this charity in the early 90’s and  the leather jacket George wore on the worldwide ‘Faith’ tour was auctioned for many thousands of pounds. And to any ‘doubters’, the picture below gives clear evidence of George’s philanthropy towards the community. Thanks to my twitter friend Dino, the youth pictured bottom front right, who was there to witness this at Haringey Civic Centre in the 1980’s.

gm-haringey

4.Urban legend has it that George Michael has a house Cyprus. There is some confusion on this however. While a photo does exist online (Google it and see) it’s not clearly stated by the architect  who designed the property if it’s George Michael the famous singer’s house  – which is misleading. Also consider there are probably thousands of people called George Michael (and I know at least 5 of them) and this one is clearly not accurate. Whatever the case George came to Cyprus but pop stars, in such a small place, always move in silence.

5.Yusuf Islam frequents Cyprus often as well and when George Michael passed away he tweeted: ‘So sad to hear my Cypriot brother @GeorgeMichael has passed away.Will miss him & pray God will have mercy on him. Condolences to his family’

6.On Twitter George would often sign himself off as ‘The Singing Greek’ and his nickname was also ‘Yog’ short for Giorgos. Its possible some one cottoned  onto the ‘Singing Greek’ tag by creating a twitter account, making things a bit confusing. In the end George Michael got the  name officially removed.

7.Club Tropicana, despite urban myth was not filmed as a video clip in Limassol Cyprus, it was made in Ibiza. However many people have used the name in Cyprus for their clubs and even my nephew had a chippy in Liverpool with the name in bright blue silver neon lights. “Its pure class” he declared at the chippy’s opening 🙂

8.George Michael, like many of us who had to endure, went to Greek school as a kid in northwest London. Greek school was an additional educational chore, often on a Saturday morning. To some it was  a pain, a routine where they learnt nothing and to others it was key to learning the Greek language. I would have preferred Saturday morning pictures.

9. A very reliable source, Costas Yennaris (who through marriage has a link)  stated on Facebook recently that George Michael also did the vragga-dagga thing as a youth with  traditional dances and the vraka – the national traditional male attire of Cyprus back in the day. Going through the same things, I am sure our paths may have even crossed on a dancefloor in a church hall off Turnpike Lane…at some stage or other.

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10. GM The Original Vrakaman was also a theme  explored in The Cyprus Weekly in 1996 when George first started donning a goatee in public. They published a headshot pic of the the both of us side by side saying GM was looking more and more like HM and we were one and the same person!  Far fetched for sure  and I am not in the same league but as the original Cypriot goatee-ist it did make me feel very humbled at the time.

11. George was a star for all people, ethnicities, races and creeds. He appeals and is just as important to Greek Cypriots as he is to Turkish Cypriots, and Armenians, Latins and Maronites. He is what Cyprus could have been, tolerant, daring and forward thinking and that was always clearly manifested through his music.

12. May be this  is not so important to some but  I will throw it in for some clarification. Still trying to figure out what side of North London George Michael was in terms of football, blue or red. It would be devastating if he was a Gooner – it hit me hard when I found out the late Bob Marley supported Arsenal a couple of years ago – but news so far from trawling the net seems to indicate GM was with Man United. Also possible growing up in Hertfordshire he could have even been Watford.

Last but by no means least…a couple of days ago we started a petition to have a street named after George Michael in Cyprus. Its going really well with over 1,743 people signing so far. Considering he is the most famous person worldwide with a Cyprus link, we see this as imperative out of respect for a person who gave so much to so many people. And it would be good if there were many streets named after George Michael worldwide…So please sign the petition here…..

RiP Yog, Αναπαύσου εν ειρήνη you will always be remembered…

More Trees Cyprus – plant a seed and watch it grow….

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In times of crisis, we all suffer; only some suffer more because others have much more in the first place. To say my island Cyprus has suffered recently is an understatement.  The rich and corrupt ones who always seem to take care of their interests, the very same people who made this crisis, bankers and politicians combined,  cannot save us because they are the root of the problem.

Generally many of us have lost faith in organized polytricks, mainly because it’s become legitimate robbery.  I heard a story about a man last week who stole two haloumia. He only stole them to feed his family. Two haloumia is less than 10  euros to buy and that citizen will be charged for a so-called ‘crime’ he was forced to commit due to the economic crisis. And yet politicians and bankers can take away millions from people’s saving’s accounts overnight and not one of them will ever get locked up for doing it. Fact is they will carry on getting paid over 5 grand a month as MP’s and still be able to keep their regular day jobs as lawyers, doctors, business men and the like…

So having lost faith in organized politricks I have to ask myself what’s the alternative? Well simply put I feel we should all make Cyprus grow again together. A very good friend of mine, Steffen Franz, started his own music distribution company from nothing. Independent Distribution Collective in San Francisco, USA currently represents over 600 artists and labels in close to 10,000  retail outlets. It does seem strange to some of us  that people are still physically buying  music releases and I think one reason it has worked for IDC is this  basic philosophy –  ‘Plant a seed and watch it grow’.

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Much of humanity has lost that kind of DiY organic approach to life. I had this conversation with a cyber friend on Facebook, right at the height of the recent crisis in Cyprus. We had been bombarded day and night with all kinds of messages, bits of information, fake promises, false pretences and suddenly this friend online called Melo Felo told me to take time out and think about the valuelessness-the worthlessness attached to this thing called money. Melo aside from reiterating my belief in going natural and growing food to live off finished with a wise recommendation….”there is only one thing to do… learn…teach…practice…and survive”…

We have been swallowed up in an endless materialistic ‘rat-race’ and at some point we have to jump off the hamster wheel and think outside the box.  Cyprus used to be so different. It was like a fertile forest. Remember we used to grow and export potatoes, citrus fruits, olives and olive oil. I used to see double-decker buses going round central London with a huge advert proclaiming “Cypressa Accept Nothing Lesser” and it used to make me feel proud of my island to see that. “Cypressa” by the way still exists as a company in Britain, click here

We forgot all that because for the last few decades we have been obsessed with everything materialistic and non-Cypriot.  We have tried our hardest to be everything we are not. To be the most perfect Europeans, the loudest ‘Greeks’, the banking centre of the universe, and the biggest spenders.

That denial of who we are and the potential for who we could be is pivotal. People were always negative towards anything Cypriot, I know this from first-hand experience having made music for the last few decades and been based here. I can get airplay in 40 countries around the world and if I am lucky a handful of people will play me a couple of times on radio in Cyprus. Don’t get me wrong this is not a “me thing”  I am just using myself as an example of how messed up things are. I remember thinking of a title for my second CD release in 1997.  I wanted to call it ‘Made in Cyprus”. I had this conversation at that time with a newspaper editor who told me simply ‘ are you sure you want to call it that?’. He felt this way because Cyprus was such a negative brand, a land where bombs were going off and where the then President, Glafkos Clerides, saddened by the corruption around him in society proclaimed we were like a ‘Banana Republic’.

Of course nowadays every one waves their Cypriot flags, claims to love Cyprus and insists on buying only Cypriot produce. It’s all good I guess but this new found sense of Cypriotness seaped in the crisis is at the same time very claustrophobic and narrow-minded. It’s also becoming very top down again with the politicians vainly trying their best to still lead the way. These vampires brought us into this mess will claim whatever they want about who is to blame, who is the savior and who are the sell outs and traitors. And I say halali tous oullous, let them have it, they can carry on leading their lost tribes of sheep into oblivion.

The alternative is to grow together, plant some seeds, watch things grow and share the fruits of our labours.  People we have to start doing it for ourselves – ‘plant a seed and watch it grow’.

So here is the idea. Everyone around the world now knows where Cyprus is due to the failings of politicians, the EU and the banking system. The crisis, who is to blame is not my concern because a million experts will tell you a million different things. The real point is how to move forward. The answer is simple. We should all start living more off the land which we have been blessed with  from the times of Aphrodite to live on. Our predecessors did it so why can’t we. If each person planted 10 more olive trees, 10 more lemon trees, 10 more fig trees, this island would be a better place for all of  us. Many people have land and this could be used to grow our own produce organically. In the process we will all get back to the real world, to the physical aspect of nature and move away from our overtly materialistic life styles.

mavro

I started in my garden. This week I planted a grape-vine from Marathassa, which produces an aromatic dark black grape; a mango tree, which I hope will give fruit someday as I love mangoes; and an avocado – I know this one is a long shot as these fruits need a more tropical climate but they have such a nice green leaves. I also plan to plant at least 100 more olive trees in the village of Lythrodontas. We have been growing our own olives in the village for many decades. Each year this produces enough olive oil for us to never have to buy it. Now the idea is to plant more trees and produce more oil that can be sold or exchanged.

Finally, I would like to invite people from around the world to be a part of this dream to let Cyprus grow naturally from the roots upwards. You can contribute directly to the planting of more trees by sponsoring a tree. Each tree will be photographed and will have your name on it.  The money you choose to give will go towards the cost of each tree, planting soil, fertilizer and water throughout the year.

In the future we will share the fruits of our labours by providing a small gift of our appreciation for your contribution with a choice of the wide range of products we will be producing, including freshly pressed olive oil, citrus fruits and dry figs. You will also be welcome any time in the village to savour our friendly hospitality and pick fresh in season produce for free.

For more details post email to moretreescyprus@gmail.com

London People – its been a long time…

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It has been a long time since I played a gig in London. Over 15 years in fact. Since then I moved to Cyprus, finished a PhD, married Marina, the love of my life, and from that bond we have two lovely kids. Finishing the PhD also led me into teaching, which in more ways than one, fulfills me 100%. Music during all this time has never been on the back burner. It remains a serious passion for me. I’ve made a few albums, toured various parts of the world, attended conferences, shared music with people all over and stay engaged with music, despite how it’s changed.

When I started out making music as a solo act in 1990 people made these things called 12″ vinyls. Then CD’s took over and then Mp3’s which have redefined how people share music. As a result of all these changes I guess it would have been wise and easy to say, well thats it, I have done what I have done. But there is more to music for me than just releasing songs for people to buy or download for free.

The main thing that keeps me motivated is the live situation. No matter what happens to how we buy or get the music for free, there will always be the need, the fulfillment in audiences to see, hear and feel music as a live performance. And musicians themselves, will always get that equal buzz factor, doing it in front of audiences, and making a communicative connection – no matter the content, style or sounds. Some people will do it for fame, some for love, and some for peace, but at the end of the day, many of these people will feel that need to carry on and perform.

So while many people, not just in London, may feel Haji Mike hasn’t done nothing since ‘Vraggaman’ I would like to say that I have done many things, in many countries around the world. Why people are still so fascinated by one song is a bit baffling to me. I never expected ‘Vraggaman’ to be what it became, as I have never thought about ‘the lets write a hit formula’.

More than anything, ‘Vraggaman’ and ‘Stavroulla’ before it were done for the fun of it and for the simple right to be able to make something different – something very London, very Cypriot and yet still had a reggae vibe to it, that Jamaican link.
The tunes were done with my late producer friend and mentor, Zacharias ‘Sugar’ Hajishacalli, who sadly passed away in 2007 and while many people equate me with these tunes, I am just half of the reason, Sugar played just as much a role as me in their making. And believe me we did have a lot of fun in the studio making them. But that was only the beginning, which took me from London to Cyprus and back 12 times alone in 1992-93 to do gigs.

As an artist in London I always felt most of the community media, such as LGR and Parikiaki, never really understood me. And since I left I guess they have never bothered to find out if I am still alive or dead. I know that sounds very cynical but it is how I feel. One reason why I left London in fact was that narrow-mindedness which stifles and suffocates creativity and expression. It was surprisingly enough easier for me to be played and respected in Cyprus. For example when I moved over here, Radio Proto offered me two radio shows, I also had a regular column in The Cyprus Mail newspaper, plus was one of a first generation of TV show presenters on SIGMA TV. In doing all these media it became very clear to me that I was far more welcome in Cyprus than London media wise.
And despite all of these achievements in Cyprus, not once have these outlets ever mentioned any of this, let alone approached me for any kind of interview.

Eventually, as much as I liked working in the Cyprus media on a freelance basis I dropped out of TV to focus on my teaching and music. I also much prefer radio and writing blogs these days, and doing music which is dub poetry based with my producer friend Dub Caravan

There have been some very notable exceptions to these community based media exclusionary rules in Britain. Trehantiri Music in Green Lanes Haringey was the first place that ever played my songs to an unsuspecting public, and I will always raise an ‘E-Iva’ glass of wine to The Pattalis Family. Radio wise Mediterranean Mix on Inspiration FM probably has more of my releases than I do. And John Kaponi once hailed that Haji Mike was about to conquer the USA. It was a great headline but that was never my intention 🙂

There are also many people in the mainstream British Media who have always been supportive, from the legendary and late John Peel Andy Kershaw and FRoots Magazine to more contemporary radio presenters such as DeeJay Ritu and Dotun Adebayo

I also had the pleasure and honour to work with many people in the world from far and wide. For example:
Lia Vissi , plus Sonic Crime and my good friend’s Mike Minas and Mike Cherry; Standout Selector, my brother from another mother in San Francisco, the classic Greek Rappers Imiskoubria and reggae pioneer Ranking Johnny from THC Records in Greece who recently released my first 7″ vinyl single; my long time production bredren, Tony Muttley Matthew in Londinium; and how could I not mention Don V Louie, Sugar’s brother, who taught me so much about myself vocally; last but by no means least my poet brother from across the barbed wire in Cyprus, Zeki Ali

And I know I have left many people out due to my memory failing me, no offence, its all there on my web page

So I am very much looking forward to playing in London on 31st October and there will be more gigs soon as well. I will also be in Liverpool on December 2nd at Parr Street Studios. And my home town of Nicosia, on 13th November with The Roots Crew Sound System

As you can see from all this, it’s a busy life, at times hectic but I enjoy every moment to the fullest. So for all the people who have supported the works over the decades, I give thanks and praises. For all those who do not, its nothing personal from me, I just wanted to set the record straight. You can continue as ever, misrepresenting Cypriots in the ways you feel best. I will just keep on movin, as the song once said from Soul II Soul…And before I sign off, one very final mention and thanks goes out to Andrew Hubbard Badger for organising The One Cyprus Concert in London on 31st October. It is a real honour to perform along side Neşe Yaşın
People like Andrew keep hope alive in Cyprus, even in these most difficult and pessimistic of times. And if you can;t make the gig, it will be up there as an online stream, live and direct as it happens. Check out ONECYPRUS.

One Love

Haji Mike

All I Want To Be

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“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”
Nelson Mandela

Freedom, as I said in another song, is a thing people struggle and die for. Its also something we live for as a life long goal. Coming from places like Cyprus and Palestine where freedom is restricted, as artists, we cannot keep silent, for that is just accepting one’s fate as part of a mass passive herd, who do not question anything that is imposed on them.

All I Want To Be was written with my friend Dub Caravan over the internet. During the course of this creation we met Sr.Calavera, who designed our CD release, “Virtual Oasis” and made the video clip.

As long as people are not free, then the struggle for freedom will continue unabated questioning and challenging all forms of oppression. In realizing this, we should all come to terms with the simple universality of freedom and the need for respecting every one’s rights to having it.

All I Want To Be

Chorus

All I want to be
Just want to be Free
All I want you see
Is some Liberty
All I want to be
Just want to be Free

Verse 1

As the rain poured
Over a still strange city landscape
He was thinking about
Another time and place
Stepping back to go forward
The here and now
The before and after
Full of joy and laughter

Chorus

All I want to be
Just want to be Free
All I want you see
Is some Liberty
All I want to be
Just want to be Free
All I want you see
Is some Liberty

Verse 2

No matter how much time passed
Acceptance never came
Like the summer rain

Never came
In an equatorial desert
The writing
You see the writing
Was always on the wall

Chorus

All I want to be
Just want to be Free
All I want you see
Is some Liberty
All I want to be
Just want to be Free
All I want you see
Is some…Liberty

Verse 3

Just want to be
Free
To walk across the land
From town to town
Without a passport in my hand
Just want to be
Free
To go from place to place
Without a barrel of a gun
In my face
just want to be
Free
To say what I want whenever I want
Without spending time
In a prison cell
Just want to be
Free
Because the most important aspect
Is Liberty

Just wanna be Free
To make poetry
Love
Music
Humanity

Chorus

All I want to be
Just want to be Free
All I want you see
Is some Liberty
All I want to be
Just want to be Free
All I want you see
Is some…Liberty

Outro

Want to be
Free
To walk across the land
From town to town
Without a passport in my hand
Just want to be
Free
From place to place
Without a barrel of a gun
In my face.

Lyrics – Haji Mike
Music – Dub Caravan
Video Clip – Sr Calavera

Touring is for Road Warriors

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Organizing and doing tours can be fun and a headache. I have been on many around the world, California, UK, Portugal, South Africa and Cyprus. And as much as I love travelling and writing about it, Cyprus still remains my favourite place to tour and promote music.

Our recent touring adventure began about a year ago, when Felix Russ Aburdine aka Dub Caravan approached me to record a couple of songs online. I guess to many people the act of making music online with a complete stranger can appear a little strange if not cold. But most times things work out. The two tunes became 5 and eventually we worked on a complete release called “Virtual Oasis”

Making a physical CD and trying to find distributors in different countries was also time-consuming. So by April 2010 we were set, CD’s being manufactured, distro in USA, Switzerland and Cyprus, oh and by the way, we still had not met physically, everything had been done online.

What next? I thought about touring the work in Cyprus and looked for sponsorship from The Ministry of Education & Culture, who eventually supported us in a limited way. The rest we had to find ourselves, as support in kind. Air tickets, hotels, promotion and hospitality. All of that took up most of the three months before the tour happened. Eventually I arranged a mixture of workshops at summer schools and performances at a number of venues around the island.

I still had not met let alone rehearsed with my cyber friend Dub Caravan. That all changed on 20th July 2010 when I awaited rather anxiously at Larnaca Airport. I knew from the first moment that I met Felix everything would be OK. He turned out to be one of the most fun and mellow people I have ever worked with. 7 gigs in 9 days around Cyprus was challenging but we did it and had a great time in the process.

One thing I want to question. It’s a real shame so many people making music cannot organise tours. There are a number of reasons for this including many artists and bands do not see the real value of promotional tours and lack the financial resources and backing.

Huge amounts of money is spent on music in Cyprus by the state and private sponsors. Most of this goes to pay international artists from abroad whose concert shows are over priced and as predictable as sliced bread. So many things have just become about money and nothing else. Local promoters who do such inflated promotion very rarely support any kind of local music or artists.

This is a shame because the local music scene cannot develop without that kind of support and respect. That’s why touring is so important. It’s not however all gloom and doom. I really believe there are some good people out there willing to support local music tours and finding people to network with on promotions is the key to success. One person in a local municipality, a radio DJ with a heart for independent music, and emerging promotion companies directly linked to your music scene. I was fortunate enough to do this tour with Dub Caravan because of such people. And last but by no means least, a huge thanks to all The Punters who came out to participate and have a good time. Without audiences we may as well all stay at home and sing in the shower!