Sababa 5 sharpens their euphoric Middle Eastern psych sound into an infectious four-track EP, featuring vocal revelation Shiran Tzfira, recorded here for the very first time. Together they reinterpret the traditional Yemenite songs of Shiran’s childhood into modern and irresistible blends of disco, funk, boogie, pop, and rock.
Tel Aviv based four-piece Sababa 5 is a supergroup of musicians from the local scene, steeped in psych rock, funk, the traditional Yemenite music that gave birth to popular Mizrahi Israeli music, and traditions from across the Mediterranean and the Middle East that have long blended into one another. Between them, they have played with everyone from the Hoodna Orchestra, Tigris, and Kutiman Orchestra to widely known vocalists such as Gili Yalo, Ester Rada, and Liraz Charhi.
Sababa 5’s catchy instrumentals and popular songs such as “Tokyo Midnight” have gained attention from the likes of BBC 6 Radio Music’s Gilles Peterson, Cerys Mathews, and Gideon Coe, Rashad “Ringo” Smith, and France’s leading purveyor of alternative sounds, Radio Nova.
Growing up in a traditional Yemenite Jewish household, Shiran Tzfira was heavily influenced by both the Jewish and Arabic traditional songs that play a major role in Yemenite culture. But her soulful, soft, yet powerful voice betrays a love of not only singers of Yemenite heritage, such as Ofra Haza and Balqees but also Western artists such as Stevie Wonder and Erykah Badu. Subsequently, Shiran has gained many fans in the Arab world, especially in Yemen, where she has been dubbed the Israeli Balqees”.