In 1985, Jess Sah Bi and Peter One’s debut album, Our Garden Needs Its Flowers, launched the two Ivory Coast musicians into regional stardom across greater West Africa. Like many recordings of its era and location, Our Garden eventually went out of print, available only to determined collectors and scavengers. Finally, reissue label Awesome Tapes From Africa has given Sah Bi and One’s folk masterpiece its first official re-release. Thirty-three years later, this unusual recording of Côte d’Ivoire country ballads still sounds like a work of pure joy.
Born and raised in Douala, Cameroon Jabal began his career as a cabaret singer. Performing five nights a week for over six years, Jabal built a repertoire of over a thousand songs ranging from a wide variety of genres from all over the world while singing in countless languages.
While in Africa, Jabal was the first call when international touring acts would come to Cameroon including Jocelyn Labylle (Antilles), Teeyah (Ivory Coast), Meiway (Ivory Coast) among others. These performances led to multiple TV and radio appearances as well as international tours.
In 2017 Jabal moved to Chicago to discover a new culture and to share his music and the culture of Cameroon to a larger audience. He quickly became immersed in the music scene being asked to perform at the African Festival of Life along with Gros Ngolte of Pokossi. Through this performance he befriended Ryan Tedder which led to an audition for AfroZep, an award winning act that performs African arrangements of Led Zeppelin songs. Although Led Zeppelin was new for him, just few months later Jabal was singing their hits in front of packed audiences at the Metro, Thalia Hall and other Chicago venues.
In addition to performances with AfroZep, Jabal has his own solo act. Some performances are acoustic based where he accompanies himself on acoustic guitar along with vocalists Samira and Dorcas while other performances he is backed by a full band including electric bass, guitar, drumset, percussion, keyboards and horns.
Singer/songwriter Max Subar aims to remain bound to his midwestern roots with songs that radiate closeness and warmth. His debut EP ‘In a Dream’, released in April 2017, was described by The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel as possessing a “pastoral glow and a Nick Drake softness.” Since the release he has garnered a local following in Chicago, playing to full rooms at staple venues including Schubas and SPACE.