Djabe released their first CD in November 1996.
On the occasion of its 25th anniversary, the band will surprise fans with a 3-disc expanded reissue.
The first Djabe album, recorded between June 1995 and September 1996, was already noticed by both the audience and the professional scene. It was created by the two founders of Djabe, percussionist András Sipos (1954 – 2007) and guitarist Attila Égerházi. They were joined by Tibor Karvaly, a violinist from the former Novus Jam band of Égerházi and Sipos, for the recordings. Among the invited musicians were Ferenc Muck saxophonist, bassist Tamás Barabás and trumpet and violin player Ferenc Kovács. From the criticisms of the time, the opinion of the American writer Mike Ezzo should be highlighted, who predicted, right from the first album, that Djabe would achieve significant success and a great career internationally. And he was right.
In recent years, Djabe released successive versions of the first records of its career, in both refurbished, remixed LP and surround sound. On the part of the band’s fans, both at home and abroad, there was a demand for vinyl and surround releases related to the first album. The possibility of renovation first arose in 2016, when Tibor Karvaly joined the line-up of the Djabe20 anniversary concert. There were also two tracks from the first CD that Djabe had never performed live before: Hagar Qim and Déjà Vu.
Attila Égerházi searched the archive for the original multitrack tapes, which had to be “baked” in the Abbey Road Studio in London, i.e. made playable again.
Studio work began at the time of the COVID-related closures. Attila Égerházi and Tibor Karvaly worked on the material for 8 months, joined by Ferenc Muck and Tamás Barabás for the last 3 months.
CD1 – Refreshed
Attila and Tibor located the multitrack recordings of all the tracks on the original CD and refreshed them. They accurately modelled the original mix balance and then re-edited the pieces in places if they saw fit. Some tracks recorded during the original sessions but not audible in the mix were also used. In a few a compositions in which they were bothered by an inappropriate note for the last 25 years, an issue now corrected. They didn’t have their own studio 25 years ago, so they often had to compromise because they slipped out of time. In case of the songs November and Demon, Ferenc Muck also recorded new saxophone tracks for similar reason. The CD, which was updated and remixed and mastered by Tamás Barabás in the end, was named Refreshed.
CD2 – Then & Now
However, the project did not stopped there. Several unused tracks were found on the multitrack tapes, which, now taking advantage of the unbound opportunity provided by their own studio, were finalized. The current members of Djabe, Áron Koós-Hutás (flugelhorn), Péter Kaszás (drums), János Nagy (keyboards) also played on these recordings, such as Pier 95 and Sunrays.
Tamás also composed a new composition based on Sipi’s original and unused drum and vocal recordings, which became We Are Okay.
An old-new composition, Lost In The Desert, was also written around a fantastic unused violin solo by Ferenc Kovács, in which a previously recorded guitar solo by Steve Hackett and Sipi’s vocal track can also be heard. Of course, Attila Égerházi, Tibor Karvaly, Tamás Barabás and Ferenc Muck also contribute to these two compositions.
On the second CD we can hear a renewed recording by Égerházi, Karvaly, and Gesztelyi-Nagy Judit; Fragments, from 1993. On the album also can be heard Sipi’s 1995 conga solo titled Sipi Falls and three recordings from the first Djabe concert ever. These were recorded on April 7, 1997 in Budapest, with a line-up of Égerházi, Sipos, Muck, and Barabás.
One of the greatest delicacies of the album is András Sipos’ 15-minute djembe solo, which, moreover, is not a concert, but a studio recording.
Égerházi has a rarely played in live guitar piece titled Venezia. A version of it from the Pecsa gig recording made in 2006, is also featured on the Then & Now. The second CD from the 2016 Djabe20 concert closes by Hagar Qim and Déjá Vu.
DVD – Surrounded
The third disc is a DVD featuring the full original album and the old-new tracks in both 24 bit/96k Hz high-definition stereo and 24/96 DTS surround versions of. The album concludes with three concert video recordings from the Djabe20 concert. In addition to those already mentioned, Distant Dance is the last on the DVD. This is not featured on CD 2.
Of course, the second CD and the DVD were mixed by Tamás Barabás, working close with Attila Égerházi, the producer of the album.
Results speak for themselfes!
The 3 discs come in a separate paper case in a collection box, which also includes a 72-page booklet. Tibor and Attila updated the material in the accompanying booklet of the 1996 original CD, retaining its artistic design. In addition to detailed information on the tracks, the small booklet also includes the history and origins of the album, members’ recollections of current works, and track by track analysis. The material, illustrated with many photos, is closed by the recommendation of László N. Göbölyös.
Musicians featured on the album
Szilárd Banai – drums (CD2)
Tamás Barabás – bass guitar
Attila Égerházi – guitar, percussion, effects
Judit Gesztelyi-Nagy – flute, schakuhachi
Gulli Briem – drums (CD2)
Tibor Karvaly –violin, keyboards, percussion, treble recorder
Péter Kaszás– drums (CD2)
Áron Koós-Hutás – flugelhorn (CD2)
Ferenc Kovács – violin, trumpet
Zoltán Kovács – keyboards (CD2)
Tibor Mótyán – tabla (CD2)
Ferenc Muck – saxophone
János Nagy– keyboards (CD2)
Tamás Rácz – guitar
András Sipos – vocal, percussion
Steve Hackett – electric guitar (CD2)
Djabe: Hagar Qim (Official video)
Djabe: Leaving The Desert (Official Video)