The bold name “aAbi" is both the Hebrew and Arab word for “prophet”, immediately hinting at this project's wild intentions.
As the brainchild of the two Tel-Aviv music producers ORI ROUSSO and MATAN SPENSER, “nAbi” simmers scorching electro-bass and hip-hop jams with arrangements and instrumentation from the group's Middle Eastern and Mediterranean heritage.
Their own particular combo of traditional Jewish Yemenite sounds and club beats has a long legacy in dance history; from Coldcut's cheekily uncredited sample of Ofra Haza in the benchmark remix of Eric B And Rakim's "Paid In Full”, to the more recent record-breaking results of A-WA updating the Yemenite sound all the way to the top of the charts all over the Middle East.
Ori and Matan who have been working together since 8 years, have made an effort to reach out to the talented hotpot of artists in their field by collaborating with local artists rather than sampling older music. This is evident on their first single “Sam Sam”, which includes the Yemenite musician Ariel Nahum. Musical community is a big theme of their project: "We come from a middle eastern country that is soaked in the cultures of the people who live here, who originally came from Arabic countries and at the same time this is a place that is heavily connected and influenced by western culture and we believe that expressing this combination through our music is the best way for us to express our identity”.
“Sam Sam” is a definitive taste of the direction nAbi is heading, tipping their hat to the lush mixes of their influences: “conceptually, “Flying Lotus” is the artist who inspired us the most. He connects all kinds of styles into an eclectic experience and we also create music that relates directly to the place we live in”. We have heard the production finesse of Ori previously in his work as the co-producer and co-writer of fellow City Slang labelmate and partner Noga Erez.
A final, unique addition to their methods – the use of a fictional character as the vehicle to drive home their politics inside of the music. Two languages, Arabic-Yemenite and Hebrew are used to set up a realistic aural geography of where their desert beats come from. The character who sings in Hebrew is the imagined protagonist Yonatan - the antithesis of a local macho man, the opposite of the “alpha male” who delivers humorous skits and sermons on respecting women. On the other hand, the Arabic texts are traditional, centuries-old folk songs that pass from generation to generation.
nAbi joins the high ranks of bands that provide pan-middle-eastern club bangers that are both conscious and wild.