The Habibi Kings @ The Roxy Hotel - New York City Article

The Habibi Kings @ The Roxy Hotel

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The Habibi Kings @ The Roxy Hotel

Sep 24, 2019

The Habibi Kings
The Roxy Hotel
2 6th Ave
Friday, September 27

You haven’t really enjoyed the James Bond theme “Goldfinger” or Michel Legrand’s “The Windmills of Your Mind” until you’ve heard them in Hebrew and Arabic. Next time you’re planning a bar-mitzvah in downtown Dubai, or even a briss in midtown Mumbai, this is the band you want to get: The Habibi Kings are fundamentally a power trio, consisting of piano bar veteran Michael Garin, percussionist Ossama Farouk (whom you hopefully saw onstage in The Band's Visit on Broadway) on dumbek, and violin virtuoso Samir Shukry. They specialize in the music of the Middle East (the Arab states and Israel), and the Mediterranean (especially Greece and Turkey). Their music is so joyfully, pan-globally inclusive that, from our mouths to God’s ears, it could serve as a model of bountiful existence between the nations, political systems, and religions of the world. And that’s not least because their idea of “world music” also encompasses The Rolling Stones ("Paint it Black"), R&B hits (like Earl Grant’s “House of Bamboo”), Stephen Sondheim’s “Sorry Grateful,” and other showtunes. (Presumably some of these will be heard on their forthcoming debut album, titled, we are told, Two Muslims, a Jew, and an Episcopalian Walk Into A Bar.) This premiere engagement at the Roxy is important because the Habibis will be joined by special guest Mardie Millit, aka “Habibi Neuwirth,” on vocals. Two additional pointers to keep in mind when you go to see them at The Roxy: 1. Don’t forget to check your turban or fez; and, 2. Valet parking will be available for your camel.

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Author: Will Friedwald
Photography by: STEPHEN SOROKOFF

Author: Will Friedwald

Will Friedwald writes about music and popular culture for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, VANITY FAIR and PLAYBOY magazine and reviews current shows for THE CITIVIEW NEW YORK. He also is the author of nine books, including the award-winning A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS, SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU, STARDUST MELODIES, TONY BENNETT: THE GOOD LIFE, LOONEY TUNES & MERRIE MELODIES, and JAZZ SINGING. He has written over 600 liner notes for compact discs, received ten Grammy nominations, and appears frequently on television and other documentaries. He is also a consultant and curator for Apple Music.

New Books:

THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP VOCAL ALBUMS (Pantheon Books / Random House, November 2017)