Habibi Funk: A Genre and Record Label

Habibi Funk Records is a reissue record label based in Berlin, Germany, that specializes in Arab music. Jannis Stürtz, who also works as a DJ under the name Habibi Funk, co-founded it. The label is best known for its albums and booklets featuring Arabic funk and soul bands from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Jannis Stürtz became interested in regional music while visiting Casablanca, Morocco, in 2002. Habibi Funk’s first release was al-Zman Saib (الزمان صعيب), a 1970s reinterpretation of British rock band Free’s song “All Right Now” by a Moroccan group called Fadaul et Les Privileges (فضول).

Habibi Funk has reissued a wide range of Arabic funk and soul bands from the 1960s to the 1980s, including compilations. Aside from these, there are albums featuring a specific band, such as Sudanese funk musician Kamal Keila, the “King of Sudanese Jazz,” Sharhabil Ahmed or The Scorpions and Saif Abu Bakr, and North African musicians like Al Massrieen, Ahmed Malek, Raze de Soare, Mallek Mohamed, and Hamid El Shaeri.

I first heard of Habibi Funk from a TikTok by the artist Saint Levant where he has a series on TikTok of “Types of music you didn’t know you needed in your life,” and he goes on to share youthful Arabic tunes. 

Arabic tunes are very underrepresented vastly because of the over-saturation of western music in general. 

Things like Habibi Funk that bring back buried treasures like Sudanese Jazz and North African Tunes are essential, especially because there is a huge audience to these types of music. Middle eastern and North African youth find that these types of music is nostalgic and liberating because they represent their type of youth rebellion that they can relate to more so than Western music. 

Music is a form of self-expression, like the 1960s in Western Media when it was a period of liberation and rebellion of the youth. Elements of this era are the widespread of Marijuana and Psychedelics, the popularity of music festivals, and the British invasion after the Beatles arrived in New York. 

Music at times like these is targeted at the youth; they usually speak about important topics for the youth, like their political standpoint, sexual and social identity, and other areas of rebellion. 

What is not talked about enough are Arab youth and their identity. Because the media is oversaturated by Western Music, Arabic tunes, among others, get so lost that Arabs themselves can’t find them. 

I think these tunes are treasures, and more people need to be put on! 

Now you have a head start for Arabic Youthful music that creates moral panic for an older generation, which is always fun, but also some fresh sounds with beautiful Arabic tunes. 

Habibi Funk finds and produces records so that this music doesn’t die out; they also have DJ gigs in different cities and countries: Cairo, Beirut, Tunic, Libya, Paris, Amman, and more.

Here are some playlists where you can listen to Habibi Funk and similar tunes: 

https://open.spotify.com/embed/playlist/1dW72E93fTcPiaQeXt6vZ7?utm_source=generator

https://open.spotify.com/embed/artist/5ZZsFnpO7frU8h5xH1wtjT?utm_source=generator

https://open.spotify.com/embed/artist/6PRGhDtDWSgyw60WSfna8v?utm_source=generator

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