Thursday, April 02, 2009

Sidi Mansour!

I’ll send you a link for a compilation of Dennis Bovell productions called ‘Fugis’ later on. The whole LP’s great but the one song that really fascinated me was Lili Twill. It’s a wonderful song, and one of the very best ever produced by Dennis Bovell, but what interested me was the fact that the vocals definitely sounded like they were in Arabic: I wondered if it might be a cover version.

Here's a link to the reggae version of Lili Twill and its dub: Lili Twill

The full LP hs already been posted here

Surprisingly (in the age of Google and YouTube) it took me forever to track down the original song. Anyway, here it is in all its glory, Lili Tewil by Younes Migri:

What a voice! The reggae version seems to be a medley of this something else, though. But what else? The answer came from an unexpected quarter. In several interviews, Migri expressed disappointment at the treatment his song received at the hands of notorious German scheissmeisters Boney M. Yes, Boney M! In 1980, they did a sort of cover version called Children Of Paradise. Here’s a link, it came out on the b-side of Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida, but I warn you it’s a horror, I’d be pissed off too.

Anyway, that got me thinking of all Boney M’s other crimes against music. Rivers of Babylon was bad enough, but (until I heard Children of Paradise) I thought that ‘Wear You To The Ball’ was the worst of the lot by a country mile. They also covered Al Capone, No Woman No Cry, and Train To Skaville. According to Wikipedia, ‘Ma Baker’ features the melody line of a Tunisian folk song called ‘Sidi Mansour’ – so I thought, why not check it out?

Here’s Boney M:

Mystery solved – sort of. But who were Raaw, and how did they end up doing a medley of two songs that’d been covered by Boney M?
Regards, Steve


Tarek Abdul-Rahman said...

what the hell Sidi Mansour have to do with Roots Reggae. I hate Arabic music although I live in an Arabic country.

Steve said...

I was wondering the same thing Tarek - that's why I blogged it. I've always liked unlikely cover versions - but this one is beyond bizarre. BTW, have you ever heard the original of 'Bird In Hand' by the Upsetters? It's from a Hindi film called 'Babul'.