F KENYA RIP is the work of Highlife, AKA Sleepy Doug Shaw from White Magic. You can read about the awesome genesis of this great song at the NME blog. Sleepy Doug told us the phrase he repeats in F KENYA RIP has “been heard as ‘Les Dames a l’eau’, which though probably spelt wrong here, roughly translates as ‘The Ladies in the Water, but the actual phrase is ‘Madame Zehae Ala.’” So now you can sing along. Sleepy Doug (I love that name) kindly sent over a newly mastered version of that song and took time to answer our 321 questions. After the jump he tells us about Lions in Comas and hanging out with RZA.
Sleepy Doug Shaw: “1. HIGHLIFE is SLEEPY DOUG SHAW.
“2. I was born and grew up in London, moving to New York at the age of 20, where I have lived for the last 6 years. I didn’t know anyone when I got there – and actually hadn’t thought I would really stay. I went out there on a wintertime trip with family, and having trekked through a blizzard on my last night, I ended up being offered a room to rent starting the next day. It was proposed to me by the one patron who happened to live upstairs from the empty bar. Needless to say, I took the room and ate my ticket. Through what seemed to me like an intensely focused fate, I quickly became close friends with some of the most forward thinking and brilliant musicians in the city – Animal Collective, Gang Gang Dance, Black Dice, Orthrelm, White Magic (of which I became a permanent member), etc. I was not aware of these bands prior to arriving in New York, and was greatly inspired by the new sounds they were making. I was looking for a way to bring the old folk and blues and spiritual music i loved, back through me, without feeling like a revivalist – and it was obvious that the way to do this was to play freely. I let go of chords and structures that i was stuck in and took a more shamanistic approach. I would try to attain a trance like state through playing guitar and singing, which soon became easy to transcend. And the path since then has been wider open. Life is ever beginning. HIGHLIFE!
“3. On June 11th 2007, I spent between the hours of 5:00am and 6:30am smoking grape kush and New York city diesel, talking with the RZA about Prince Buster and old ska records. Dreams come true.”
2 3 SONGS
SDS: “Mahmoud Ahmed’s Tezeta. Mahmoud Ahmed is a legend of Ethiopian soul and jazz singing, and is also my favourite living singer. Tezeta itself is one of the main modes of ethiopian music, used to express longing – the word itself literally translates as ‘nostalgia’. The cut is deep. I am completely floored by this song every time I hear it, and am usually in tears a few bars in. Ethiopian music totally rules!
“Animal Collective’s Lion In A Coma. I toured with the Animal Collective as their Merriweather… record dropped at the beginning of January. Seeing them live for nights and nights in a row was insane. I would come off stage, roll one up, grab a six pack and head to the side of the stage to rave! I love the Jews harp sample, the searing harmonies, organ flurries and jilted feel of the rhythm. Diamond Gentlemen! Rejoiceful music!
Animal Collective – Lion In A Coma (Live at Pitchfork Festival ’08)
“Autumn’s Child by Captain Beefheart. In my opinion, no white man has channelled the spirit of black music better than Captain Beefheart. It’s that thing where it doesn’t even seem like he’s trying. Like every breath, whilst summoned, is inevitable, blowing wide, like wind across the desert. The saw and the violin. The whip cracks and the choir. And all the turning circles. Breathtaking.”
SDS: “”This is not my ONE wish, cos that’s too hard, but it would be cool to open up for Bob Dylan. Selfish wish though. Probably for people to just take it easy in general…”
The first HIGHLIFE ep will be coming out on Sleepy Doug’s own label, NEW HIGH RECORDS, in mid June. Limited to 1000 12″copies. It features 4 songs: WAR FAIR/ F KENYA RIP/ BURYING STONES/ TUAREG DANCEHALL. See him live around Europe throughout June (28/06 at Barden’s with Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti looks particularly sweet).