Desert Wind

This came out in 1993, Desert Wind by Banco de Gaia. Around 1992/93 the dance music scene splintered into multiple paths and sub- genres. There was a whole scene built around ambient dub spliced with world music, trance with tribal rhythms and vocal samples borrowed from Middle Eastern records, which probably started out with a crossover between The Orb and bands from the festival circuit.

Banco de Gaia were a one man operation at first, Toby Marks from South London, and this track was the first released in its own right (he’d put out tracks on various compilations before). A year later Banco’s first album followed,  Maya, and then Last Train To Llhasa in 1995 (and others since). Desert Wind is a joy, opening with chanting and the voice of  Ofra Haza, then drums, dubby bass and layers of keys and synths. It should hopefully inspire you to dig further.

Desert Wind

Im Nin’alu

Ofra Haza’s Im Nin’alu (a version of a 17th century Hebrew poem) was a genuine crossover hit, one of the first songs from what used to be called World Music to be bought in large quantities by western audiences. Im Nin’alu is also a widely sampled record that played a significant role in the development of the American hip hop scene and the birth of UK house music.

Ofra Haza first recorded her version in 1984 although she had performed it on an Israeli TV show back in 1978. Eric B and Rakim sampled the famous vocal part for their 1987 song Paid In Full. In 1988 a reworked version, inspired by Eric B and Rakim’s, crossed over in various countries, not least West Germany where it was number one for nine weeks. Following that MARRS may or may not have re-sampled it for their groundbreaking number one record in August 1987, Pump Up The Volume. Public Enemy used it in 1991 on Can’t Truss It, but it’s fair to say it was possibly a little overplayed by then. Ofra re-recorded it in 1997 and 2008 but it’s this version, snapped up by the remixers and producers of 1988, that is the keeper.

Im Nin’alu (Played In Full Mix)