Dissidenten

Origins: Germany, North Africa, India
Styles: World groove, chillout, Arabica
Discography: 2008 – The Tangier Sessions
1999 – Mixed Up Jungle
1997 – Instinctive Traveler
1995 – Love Supreme
1993 – Jungle Book
1988 – Out of This World
1984 – Sahara Elektrik
1982 – Germanistan – I Wish I Could Stay Far Away
1981 – Hindustan
Web Site: http://www.myspace.com/dissidenten
Though no longer active, Dissidenten was one of the first and most influential world fusion artists. Dissidenten specialized in the exotic sounds of Africa and India. All three of their members — Uve Müllrich, Marlon Klein, and Friedo Josch — hail from Berlin, Germany.

Formed in 1981, the trio issued a few self-financed singles, before touring Asia for the better part of a year. In 1982, the group relocated to India, where they lived in the palace of Maharaja Bhalkrishna Bharti of Gondagaon in Madja Pradesh, central India. There, they wrote their debut full-length recording, Germanistan. Joining Dissidenten were the Karnataka College of Percussion, female singer Ramamani, and American saxophonist Charlie Mariano. A year later, the group moved to Tangier, Morocco, where renowned author and composer Paul Bowles introduced the trio to some of the area’s best instrumentalists. Dissidenten released then Sahara Elektrik, produced by Abdessalam Akaaboune.

In the mid-’80s Dissdenten scored their first big hit (in Spain and Italy) with the dance track “Fata Morgana.” Subsequently, the group launched a sold out tour of Spain, which led to a John Peel recording session in England, and increased interested in the band throughout the remainder of the world. The group was especially embraced by Canada, where Sahara Elektrik topped the independent charts. The trio
decided to set up shop in Spain during 1986, which was where they recorded their third album, Life at the Pyramids. To support the release, Dissidenten set out on a world tour, a standout performance being the opening night at the 1988 New Music Seminar at the Palladium in New York City.


Dissidenten’s 1990 release Out of This World, was also their first album to be featured on a major U.S. label (Sire/Warner). The album featured several guest North African musicians, including the string section of the Royal National Orchestra of Morocco, plus Cherif Lamrani and Mahmoud Saadi. Dissidenten decided to move their operations back to their homeland of Berlin. A year later, the group released their show at the 1988 New Music Seminar as Live in New York. 

Dissidenten spent much of 1992 working on their next studio release, The Jungle Book, which featured the Karnataka College of Percussion, Trilok Gurtu, and Ramesh Shotham. European DJs in their annual World-Music-Charts Europe voted the album into second place, while Sven Väth remixed a version of
“Jungle Book Part II” as a techno dance track.

In 1996, the members of Dissidenten formed their own music company, Exil Musik, and issued Instinctive Traveler. The album marked the first time that the vocals were sung in English. They supported the album with appearances at such festivals as Stuttgart Jazz Open, Leverkusener Jazztage, and Festival De La Diversidad. 1998 saw the group play further shows with guest musicians/singers Izaline Calister, Noujoum Ouazza, and Manickam Yogeswaran. They played the Glastonbury Festival in England, which resulted in the release of their second live album, Live in Europe.

Dissidenten spent 2000 collaborating on an opera about the Danube River with American composer Gordon Sherwood, performed with an orchestra and choir at the International Donau Musik Festival in the city of Ulm. The same year, Marlon Klein traveled to Durban, South Africa, to record the Zulu Choir Phikelela Sakhula and the Real Happy Singers, in addition to producing the album Love Letter for PILI-PILI. To mark Dissdenten’s 20th anniversary, they released 2001: A Worldbeat Odyssey. The album features nine DJs and producers (including Badmarsh, Lemongrass, Shantel, and others) remixing tracks from Dissidenten’s long career. Unlike most remix albums, the release was supported by a tour, featuring several of the album’s participants.

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