If you’re familiar with the internationally-focused Seattle-based record label Sublime Frequencies, then chances are you’ve probably questioned on more than one occasion the practicality of owning a passport. Their catalog is a veritable smorgasbord of artists from regions of the world most of us will likely never have the opportunity to visit (due to unreliable means of transportation or other factors), and some of which we possibly haven’t even heard of. Another case of developed-world elitism? I think not: “Ethnic Minority Music” from North Vietnam and Cambodia? Tuareg music from the Agadez Region of Niger? Ornamental sounds from the Lhasa region of Tibet? How many other labels are constantly releasing music from these sporadically-frequented areas?
At least one more, according to The Wire. Adding to his work as a long-time contributor and collaborator with Sublime Frequencies, Mark Gergis has started his own label, Sham Palace. When asked about his motivations, Gergis had this to say on the subject: “I’ve started the label in order to be able to share more of this mountain of sounds and images I’ve been accumulating from around the world for almost two decades.” So essentially, Gergis needed a second, entirely new label of his own from which to release all of the obscure musical artifacts he’s uncovered and is uncovering from the Middle East and Southeast Asia. That’s fair enough. It’s like needing an extra hard drive.
Sham Palace’s first release will come on November 22, when Syrian musician Omar Souleyman will release the double-LP Leh Jani.
[Photo: Dave Franklin]