3 Mustaphas 3 Biography

This pseudo-Balkan band did much to popularise world music in the mid- to late 80s, revealing a serious musical intent behind the elaborate mythology that saw each band member adopting 6 August as an official birthday in order to avoid confusion. Niaveti Mustapha III (Tim Fienburgh; flutes, German bagpipes), Hijaz Mustapha (b. Ben Mandelson, Liverpool, England; violin, bouzouki), Houzam Mustapha (b. Nigel Watson; drums), Sabah Habas Mustapha (b. Colin Bass; bass, percussion), Kemo ‘Kem Kem’ Mustapha (b. Kim Burton; accordion, piano), and Daoudi Mustapha (clarinet) made their UK debut in August 1982. They claimed to hail from the hard-to-locate Balkan city of Szegerley, and their major breakthrough was going from Balkan Beat Bastard Bad Boys to Godfathers Of World Music, without changing their direction. The Mustaphas were occasionally joined by Expensive Mustapha (trumpet). The humorous ensemble was first brought to public attention by BBC Radio 1 disc jockey John Peel. The band attracted a degree of criticism for not taking their music seriously, but the end product was still extremely popular with audiences both in Europe and the USA. As an indication of this, Soup Of The Century was number 1 in the Billboard World Music charts, and was voted the Best World Music/International Album For 1990 by NAIRD (National Association of Independent Record Distributors), in the USA. For Heart Of Uncle, on Globestyle Records, the band was joined by their sister Laura Tima Daviz Mustapha (vocals). They backed a number of other artists, such as Ofra Haza, where they sang ‘Linda Linda’ and managed to offend some people by singing half the lyrics in Hebrew and half in Arabic. Select members contributed to Out On The Rolling Sea, a 1994 tribute album to Bahamian guitarist Joseph Spence.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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