Come see MC Rai and the Dunes at this free live concert in Union Square!
The Dunes is a North African fusion group. That is, it's a Chaabi Funk Gnawa Rock Berber Metal Arab Reggae Groove Machine. The group is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and its members hail from North Africa and Northern California. Singing in Arabic, Amazigh, French and English, The Dunes mix original compositions with Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian favorites. Songs of love and life, exile and hope, faith and transformation come alive in the Dunes' slamming live set to get dancers dancing, thinkers thinking, and groovers grooving.
The six-piece group augments a basic rock band ensemble with the Algerian mandol, the Moroccan Gnawa guinbri, and various North African percussion instruments. The Dunes' musical mélange takes inspiration from North African and French fusion bands such as Orchestre National de Barbès and Gnawa Diffusion, but with a rockier edge. They sound something like if Gary Moore, Mokhtar Samba and Bootsy Collins formed a rai band produced by Matoub Lounes and Robin Gibb, honed their chops on the Tunisian wedding circuit and debuted at the Gnawa Festival in Essaouira.
The band's line-up features Karim Amrani - mandol, vox; Reda Bouali (ex-Rascass, the first Algeiran metal band) - guitar, vox; Anis Sehiri - keyboard, vox; Tim Abdellah Fuson (wrote the first PhD dissertation on Gnawa music) - bass, guinbri, vox; Nasser Addi – drums; Jan Padover – darbuka. They have performed at Bay Area venues (Coda, El Rio, Rockit Room, La Peña, Ashkenaz) and community events sponsored by the Arab Cultural and Community Center, Asylum Access, Middle East Children's Alliance and UC Berkeley's Center for Middle Eastern Studies.
In 2010 The Dunes released a CD of three tracks from their album-in-progress, "Casbahpolitan." Recorded in Oakland with Juan-Manuel Caipo (Bang Data), the disc features a guest appearance by Gift of Gab (Blackalicious). The Dunes host and perform at the monthly "Arabian Nights" event the last Thursday of every month at El Rio in SF.