Ya Tosiba – Mollah The Machine

Ya Tosiba – Mollah The Machine
Pingipung 45

Ya Tosiba is a Berlin-based duo producing bass-heavy riddims with energetic female vocals. On the mic we have Zuzu Zakaria, the versatile singer who uses mainly found, historical lyrics in her mother tongue Azeri. On synths and drum machines we have Mesak. The head of the fantastic Harmönia label has his roots in Finland, he is one of the pioneers of Scandinavian Skweee music.

As heard on their first single ("Mad Barber" from 2012), the vocals use lyrics found during field studies about the history of Meykhana, which is a traditional, improvised form of rhythmical folk vocals from Azerbaijan. It can be framed as a historical kind of rap music which during Soviet times (1940-1991) had been forced to move underground, resurrecting with electronic instruments since the 1990s and finding a new popularity in Baku and also abroad these days.
Zuzu has researched about Meykhana in her studies at Oslo university. In her fieldwork, she has found the lyrics for these two tracks. "Mollah", based on texts by Aliaga Vahid, dates back to the 1940s, it carefully criticizes the hypocrisy of the religious leaders at the time. "Maşın" has been written by Agaselim Childag in the 1980s and describes the sudden rise of cars in the streets of Baku, with everybody riding about without any need for licenses.

Mesak's trademark sounds, these raw synth bleeps in characterizing most of the Scandinavian Skweee music, are present throughout. They join hands into two bouncing beats accompanying Zuzu's enchanting vocals. "Molla" is a slow head nodder gaining more and more energy through the song, while "Maşın" turns out as a captivating disco track which is perfectly made for driving slowly to a beach in the summer with all windows open.

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