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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

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.

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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…

Friends…how many of us have them?

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There is something amazing about social media web sites. I guess it revolves around the notion of re-inventing the wheel. Viewers, listeners, readers,the audience as we are known in communications studies have become creators. Without all the filtering of traditional media such as radio, tv and newspapers, we are the message because the medium of the net is the message.

Or is there much more to it than the magnetic and somewhat addictive characteristics of the Web 2.o Revolution?

Just think about it, ten or fifteen years ago did we sit in front of the TV or listen to the radio for say 6 hours each day. Television was important, but who actually viewed that much 7 days a week without fail. But many of us do spend that much time online, Facebooking, Youtubing, sending, receiving, writing and answering emails, surfing the  net and yes BLOGGING!

I lived  life without a TV as a student. Radio was different for me as I worked on a campus station so it was an occupational production hazard.  But I never listened to 6 hours worth of radio every day without fail. There’s also the mobility of the net. You can go all mobile and wi-fi. My son for example, who is 12, sits in Bennigans while we wait for the nosh and answers emails. He has also been designing web pages for a couple of years.

In a way, we can’t really get away from it and every year something else comes out to the point where Star-Trek like next generation technology will be determining our lives.

Another dimension is the plain sociability of it all. I have for example 1,428 friends on Facebook and around 6,000 on MySpace. Don’ t ask me to name them because I can’t. Being an artist making music has influenced this kind of ‘friend’ base and I am not knocking social media sites for doing this as they are a vital tool for promoting new music, ideas and things which more mainstream media would just bypass.

There are also many people who tend to abuse this by hyping how many ‘friends’ they have through programs like ‘Friendblaster’ making them look way more popular than they are. It’s sinister and so desperate when you think about it. A bit like releasing a CD and then getting your friends to buy a couple of copies from retailers to bump up the sales and create a pseudo-buzz.

So where is all this leading one may ask? Well just how many real friends do we all still have? And how many virtual friends are real? Just think about it if there are a handful of things that have eternal continuity, friends are up there with family and life itself. I have a friend who have known since I was 10. Another since I was 22 and so on. But some one I chat to on Facebook, who I have not even met and would probably not recognize on the street, is that really a friend?

At the same time however, the net has been a magical tool for me music and production wise. I have spent the last 8 months recording a CD completely online with a cyber-friend by the name of Dub Caravan. Having Ftp’ed hundreds of files back and forth, we finally completed a mastered release, entitled ‘Virtual Oasis’, set for a release this June, but have not as yet, physically met. We have become close collaborators and partners in a business sense. The virtuality of the work has made it very special for both of us. We will meet finally this summer, on a stage in Cyprus when we start gigging together until then we are cyber buddies who have made a CD together.

It can also go terribly wrong online. Having worked with people from different contexts, some times things just don’t work out. The biggest hurdle is a lack of communication. This is why it is always better to be honest with people when they send you a track. If you don’t like it, just say so. There’ s no point in going with a flow which leaves a bad taste in your mouth aesthetically, emotionally and creatively. And this works both ways. Some one might not like my lyrics, just as much as I may not like the song or production quality.

So having done this online collaboration thing for the last four years its  just  probability, but I eventually found some one who understood me work and vice versa. It was perhaps then inevitble that I would encounter Dub Caravan, because he too has gone through very similar experiences  online that on some occasions just did not work out the way he wanted.

Not every one however is a musician, lyricist, or promoter utilising the net to forward their works. Some people limit friends to people they actually know physically. This makes for a supereb way to keep in touch with actual friends and immediate family. A friend of mine that does this feels no need to add any one else as there are not enough hours in the day for work, kids, and dumbing out on Facebook with complete virtual strangers,

Social media sites then are allusive giving many of us a much more exaggerated notion of who we are and who our friends are. How many of us actually are friends and have become friends is open to much debate. I can still count my closest friends in this world on one hand. I know and they know who we all are. I am not saying all my facebooks, youtubes and myspaces will be terminated. I am not that much of a Luddite. New technology and techniques should always be tried and tested. They are great as long as we know how to use them and as long as we don’t let them take us all over and use us.

Friends…as the pioneering Hip Hop trio Whodini once said “How many of us have them”