Today's Song of the Day, as chosen by John Richards, host of the Morning Show on KEXP, is "Ya Mahla" by Acid Arab & Wael Alkak, from the 2023 album ٣ (Trois) on Crammed Discs
French-Algerian collective Acid Arab recently released their appropriately titled third record ٣ (Trois) (٣ is the symbol for the figure three in Arabic and “trois” means "three" in French) in February via Crammed Discs. The collective, composed of Guido Minisky, Hervé Carvalho, Pierrot Casanova, Nicolas Borne and Kenzi Bourras, is known for their fusion of electronic and North African and Middle Eastern sounds and their latest record sees them bring in a bevy of guest vocalists from North Africa, Syria, and Turkey to add depth to their already-addictive club sounds.
Our Song of the Day, “Ya Mahla,” features Syrian singer Wael Alkak, an accomplished musician and founder of the Neshama Popular Arts Association who has spent the past decade making a name for himself as an artist speaking out about the revolution while merging synthesizers and machines with bouzouk, traditional chaâbi rhythms, and popular songs from the Levant. It’s a dark and churning techno track that spends nearly seven minutes hammering away. Perhaps perfect for the inky recesses of a nightclub but when translating the lyrics, it’s an anthem for freedom, reading: “What a beautiful word, ‘Freedom’ / I salute the Arab people / What a beautiful word, ‘Freedom’ / I salute the Arab revolutionaries.”
Watch the visualizer for “Ya Mahla” below.