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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…

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!