Artist Profiles: Dissidenten

Dissidenten

Uve Müllrich, Marlon Klein and Friedo Josch founded Dissidenten in Berlin, Germany, in 1980.

Following a one-year tour of Asia, the group decided to move from Berlin to India. Upon invitation from Maharaja Bhalkrishna Bharti of Gondagaon they spent a year at his palace in Madja Pradesh in central India. There, Dissidenten’s first album Germanistan was written in collaboration with the Karnataka College Of Percussion and the female singer Ramamani from Bangalore.

This project with the American saxophonist Charlie Mariano received attention far beyond the borders of India. Performances at a series of the most prestigious festivals in the world followed.

In 1983, after a tour of North Africa, the group set up camp in Tangier, Morocco. The American composer and author Paul Bowles introduced them to many Moroccan musicians.

The Dissidenten studio was established at the Sultan’s Palace in Tangier with the help of Abdessalam Akaaboune, one of the most influential powers behind the Arabic music scene. (The Rolling Stones work at his place since the days of Brian Jones). Dissidenten’s second album Sahara Elektrik was produced at his palace.

The track ‘Fata Morgana’ took off in Spain, South America and Italy and became a top dance-floor hit in 1985. Over 250,000 Spaniards saw and heard the band during a three-week-tour alone.

After the British DJ John Peel repeatedly featured the group in England, the euphoria that had originally started in southern Europe spread via England to North America, especially Canada. Sahara Elektrik made the top of the Canadian Independent Charts. A European tour followed.

In 1986, having established themselves as intercontinental contemporary world music pioneers with a worldwide reputation, Dissidenten moved back to Tangier to concentrate on film-scores to relax from extensive touring.

Unfortunately their success in the Arab World soon took such psychotic dimensions that they decided to shift their headquarters to Madrid, Spain to record the album Life at the Pyramids.

In 1987/88 they played the most important cities in Canada and the United States of America. Their final breakthrough came with their concert at the opening gala of the New Music Seminar in the New York Palladium.

During 1989, Dissidenten worked in Morocco, India, the United States of America and Spain on their album Out of this World released worldwide by Sire/Warner Brothers in New York.

Some of the most prominent North African musicians collaborated in the recording-sessions. Besides the string section of the Royal National Orchestra of Morocco, the album also features Cherif Lamrani and Mahmoud Saadi, members of the legendary groups Lem Chaheb, Jil Jilala and Nass El Ghiwane.

in 1990, after nearly a decade absence, Dissidenten’s home-base was moved back to Berlin. From there, they set out to promote Out of this World with concerts around the world. In Canada they started filming and recording for a project involving Native American music.

The album Live in New York was released in 1991, recorded live during their legendary concert at the Opening Gala of the New Music Seminar in New York’s Palladium. The rest of the year the group spent recording in Canada.

The year 1992 finds Dissidenten traveling between Berlin, Mumbai Bombay and Bangalore in South India to complete works on the album The Jungle Book which brought back many friends from their first Indian works in the early 1980s. Many of them have become renowned artists of their own, like Trilok Gurtu or Ramesh Shotham of the group Oregon.

The Jungle Book was released worldwide in 1993 and Dissidenten toured to promote the album around the globe. Top European radio DJ’s voted the album into second place amongst 800 productions in their annual World Music Charts Europe.

In 1994 Dissidenten topped various dance charts around the world – this time not their own production but through the Rave-remixes of Germany’s techno-Guru Sven Väth. This was the ideal opener for the world tour which lasted into 1995.

The rest of this year and 1996 the group spent traveling between recording studios from Los Angeles, Maui, Hawaii (where drummer Marlon Klein produced an album for Gary Wright and George Harrisson), Casablanca and Bombay where Uve Müllrich worked on soundtracks for Hindi Movies, while Friedo Josch was turning the knobs in native Berlin.

The resulting album, Instinctive Traveler , was released in 1997. More than forty musicians were involved in the production of Instinctive Traveler. The most outstanding discovery is the voice of BAJKA, then 18 year old daughter of Dissidenten bassist Uve Müllrich. No real surprise for insiders, Bajka, born in Dissidenten’s founding-place at the maharaja’s palace in Central India, spent most of her lifetime traveling with the group around the world and therefore knew the clues of Dissidenten.

After Bajka left the band to work on her own projects, Izaline Calister of Curacao, former singer of Holland`s world fusion pioneers Pili-Pili, joined the group.

The rest of the year Dissidenten spend touring around the world, mainly playing Festivals in Europe. Amongst them the prestigious Stuttgart Jazzopen Festival in Germany, Festa De La Diversidad in Barcelona (Spain) and the Leverkusen Jazztage in Germany.

During 1998 the band made occasional appearances at various festivals around the world- among them a concert at the Glastonbury Festival in England, the World Roots Festival in Amsterdam and the famous Enzimi Festival in Rome and the Sunsplash Festival in Leverkusen, Germany.

As a result of all these concerts, in November 1998 the album “Live In New York” was published, featuring long-time Dissident and American jazz legend Charlie Mariano on saxophone.

The turn of the year Dissidenten’s Müllrich and Klein spent in India and Brazil, preparing new projects for their label Exil Musik.

Marlon Klein produced the album Ten. A project of the Spanish composer Tomas San Miguel with the chalaparta and the 40 member Basque choir Coro Samaniego.

In 1999 Dissidenten played at various festivals around Europe, amongst them the Tollwood-Festival in Munich, Germany, the Montreux jazz-festival and another appearance at the Jazz-World-Stage in Glastonbury, England.

Marlon Klein was invited by jazz keyboardist Jasper van’t Hof to South Africa. In Durban he recorded the Zulu Choir Phikelela Sakhula and the Real Happy Singers and produced the Pili-Pili album Love Letter.

In 2000 Dissidenten took a new step into another musical world. Together with 70 year-old classical American composer Gordon Sherwood they worked on an opera about the river Danube, performed together with various classical orchestras in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Ukraine in 2000.

 

Discography

Sahara Elektrik (Exil, 1990)

Life At The Pyramids (Exil, 1990)

Out Of This World (Sire / Warner Bros., 1990)

Live In New York (Exil, 1991)

Germanistan (Exil, 1992)

The Jungle Book (Exil, 1993)

Love Supreme Remix (Exil, 1994)

Mixed Up Jungle (Exil, 1996)

Instinctive Traveler (Exil, 1997)

Live In Europe (Exil, 1998)

2001, a Worldbeat Odyssey (Exil, 2001)

Tanger Sessions (Exil, 2008)

Web site: /www.dissidenten.com

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.

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