I guess last year has made many of you desperate for parties, to the extent that you told friends to get drunk in front of everyone’s respective cameras. We, as a cultural magazine, don’t recommend excessive alcohol consumption, but rather offer an alternative: an Irie Maffia concert broadcast, jumping, dancing, singing and shouting, until our hair gets wet and our body stress-free. (Moderate drinking is up to you.) To get you in the mood, we brought you some rhythmic music, and stories related to them, from the 16-year-old band.
The time when MC Columbo was arrested at the Sziget
One of the frontpeople of Irie Maffia, András Kéri who uses the stage name MC Columbo, told this story in Hungarian press some years ago. After a concert at the famous Sziget Festival, he enjoyed the party so much that he only woke up the second day at noon. He wanted to leave the island, but security got him. He realised he was still wearing the armband from the previous day. Security people didn’t treat him special just because he was a popular musician and not just any random guest, so MC Columbo was taken away by a police car. Fortunately this little intermezzo didn’t affect the relationship between the band and the festival. Irie Maffia played on the the Sziget grand stage in 2015 to celebrate their 10. anniversary, and they also provided the anthem of the festival in the same year.
The time when ELO came across the azonto in Ghana
Two members of Irie Maffia, Sena Dagadu and Márton Élő (ELO) are a couple, and they have often visited Sena’s family and friends in Ghana. Also, ELO tried to get a glimpse in the local music scene. He explained his experiences in 2012 in Hungarian press, for instance about the absence of ‘underground music’ in Ghana. Something is either known by a hundred people, or by the whole country. Azonto, a genre of music and dance, was the latter. It origins in the community life of the coastal towns and cities of Ghana, and it’s partly an artistic expression, a communication, and an entertainment form. ELO himself wrote such songs which have been popular in Ghana. The musician also told how the local technical solutions impressed him, just like the fact that cultural life has a completely different basis there. He highlighted:
“…so I’m there at a place where this music happens in the real world in real time, and not the whole world loves it but only a few people. So I’d like to do a bit more in this direction.”
The time when a flesh-and-blood song walked out of the book’s pages
The guitarist Szeki, a.k.a. Ádám Szekér, has a song called What Do You Really Wanna Say which has a special history. Another member of Irie Maffia, Ákos Baranyai, and his writer-editor friend Eszter Angyalosy, wrote a novel about a fictional band called Wonderland which included Baranyai’s real-life experiences with Angyalosy’s creative writing skills. The novel was published in the band jubilee year 2015, and the authors commissioned Szeki to write a Wonderland song in our reality, too. This is how the song and the ever so real, rhythmic and wild music video was created, which are great examples on how life and arts can entangle in the most various ways.
The time when the city awakes
This is an odd one, as it features “only” two band members, Gáspár Horváth (JumoDaddy) and Thomas W. Kemon (MC Kemon), and a third unrelated singer (Viki Lábas), but this project from last year simply couldn’t have left out. You don’t find such a party place every day! The three musicians and other members of the music industry celebrated the reopening of Budapest with a huge party in the illuminated Buda Castle, although now we know that unfortunately it was only a short-term openness before the second lockdown. So the song is still relevant, and as long as we can’t go to real concerts, we should at least switch on the Irie Maffia’s 2015 Müpa jubilee concert broadcast tonight!