Sabah Habas Mustapha

Denpasar Moon

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It's a long way from Szegerely to Jakarta, but Sabah Habas Mustapha seems to know the way. In fact, the title song "Denpasar Moon" quickly achieved great fame in East and Southeast Asia. In an occurence reminiscent of the early days of rock & roll in the United States, a Filipina singer named Mary Beth covered Mssr. Mustapha's tune and it became a mega-hit, spawning 50 or more covers. Unfortunately, just like the early days of rock & roll, Sabah Habas is not reaping his share of the goldmine. However, he now has a very impressive calling card whenever he's in Asia. It's fairly easy to see why the song "Denpasar Moon" became such a hit. The tune has a nice progression, the words express a longing that many of us have felt at some point in our lives. It's a perfect pop ballad. This album is chock-full of hook-laden pop tunes with an Indonesian twist. Indonesia isn't the only influence on this recording, however. East African taarab music, South African mbaqanga and even echoes of flamenco make themselves known. It's a tribute to all musicians involved, especially arranger Johnny Kake, that this works.

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