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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 13 November 2018

UAE super-group Abri & Funk Radius unveil first single Sunny Daze

For the first time in their three-year history, Abri & Funk Radius yesterday unveiled an original recording, Sunny Daze, a lazy, jazzy soul-pop slow-burner.
Hamdan Al Abri, the lead singer of Abri + Funk Radius, a popular UAE band who have released their first original material.
Hamdan Al Abri, the lead singer of Abri + Funk Radius, a popular UAE band who have released their first original material.

No arguments about it, Abri & Funk Radius rank among the UAE’s best-known and most-loved bands, having built a wide reputation for their tireless party-starting covers gigs up and down the emirates.

Yet all this adoration and notoriety has come without releasing a single note of their own music – until now.

For the first time in their three-year history, Abri & Funk Radius yesterday (April 10) unveiled an original recording, Sunny Daze. And, it rocks.

With no pre-amble or press, the lazy, jazzy soul-pop slow-burner appeared on the band’s Facebook page. Just. Like. That.

Accompanied by a pro-shot video, the single marks the first new music released in lead singer Hamdan Al Abri’s name since a well-received, eponymous electronic solo EP in 2011.

Yet the timing could not be more curious, with the Emirati frontman also set to unveil a brand new originals project just two days later – after months of top-secret studio sessions, Abri and the Dreamfleet will make their live debut onstage at the Hype Music & Nightlife Awards on Wednesday April 12, it was recently revealed. That commercially flavoured project pairs Al Abri with forward-thinking UAE electronic producers Megadon Betamax and Adriano K.

However Funk Radius is all about a group effort and a live sound and – recoded in Dubai’s SoundStruck Studios and mixed and mastered at London’s historic Abbey Road Studios – Sunny Daze exploits the sharply tuned interplay of this road-worn septet.

Indeed, it would be no exaggeration to call Funk Radius a UAE super-group, with most members leading their own successful solo projects. On guitar is Jay Wud, a veteran hard-rocker who is prepping his third album for release later this year, after successfully crowd-funding for studio sessions in Los Angeles.

The rhythm section is made up of three razor-sharp jazz players – drummer Rony Afif (Zourouf), his brother the bassist Elie Afif (Giant Steps to Heaven) and keyboardist Tarek Yamani, who last month unveiled his third album Peninsular at the Abu Dhabi Festival. The line-up is rounded out by horn players Jino Kim and Joaquin Sosa, who turns in a searing sax solo on the tune.

The sudden release of Sunny Daze comes after Funk Radius revealed a barrage of new original material at two recent festival gigs – Meet d3 and Wasla – and word is more singles are on the way soon.

A pioneer of the regional music scene, Al Abri first found fame as lead singer of the eponymous soul-pop band Abri, who caused a sensation in the emirates’s embryonic music scene, releasing two albums and touring internationally between 2006-2009. Before forming Funk Radius, Al Abri was lead singer for a time of Bull Funk Zoo.

rgarratt@thenational.ae