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Sabah Habas Mustapha

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Biography

As part of the seminal worldbeat band 3 Mustaphas 3, bassist Sabah Habas Mustapha (born Colin Bass) explored the music of all the globe's regions. But since the band's demise he's focused on the sounds of Indonesian pop, managing to score an Asian hit song, as well as making a living as a radio presenter in his adopted home of Berlin, and establishing himself as a leading world music record producer. Starting out as a musician in England during the '70s pub rock era, he played with African percussionist Gaspar Lawal, before moving on to prog rock as part of former Gong guitarist's Steve Hillage Band, then joining Camel (with whom he still plays). In turn, that led to the unrecorded Orchestra Jazira at the beginning of the '80s, some of whose members would form 3 Mustaphas 3. Following the band's folding, Mustapha traveled to Indonesia, a place he'd been several times before, trying to find records to license for the Piranha and Globestyle world music labels. On his next trip, a producer in Jakarta suggested he try his own hand at the local pop dangdut style. The result was 1994's Denpasar Moon, whose title track became a hit throughout Asia, spawning more than 50 cover versions, although Mustapha saw little in royalties due to the nature of Asian laws. His income came primarily from record production, working with bands ranging from the Klezmatics to Tarika. Three years later he went further to make his next album, all the way to Bandung, the capital of Sunda in West Java, to experiment with the local Sundanese music, working with a studio band he dubbed the Jugala All Stars. The result was a record that used the Javanese forms, but superimposed the lyrical sense of humor that had propelled the Mustaphas, as on "Artur Asaki," a tribute to the late British comedian Arthur Askey. In 2000, he followed that with So La Li, credited to Sabah Habas Mustapha & the Jugala All Stars, a more group-oriented release, and much rootsier, its lyrics based on traditional Sundanese texts. A 2001 European tour was slated for the band, with Mustapha splitting his time between his own musical project, hosting a German world music radio program, and playing bass for Camel.

Genre
Years Active:

'80s, '90s, '00s