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Border Patrol


Farees has a rich heritage of many cultures and a fertile and robust background in music. With Farees's mom being of Tuareg (Black and Berber) ancestry, and his dad being of Italian and German heritage, all of this gives meaning to his embracing of the planet and call to make a difference through his music. Starting in Africa, playing in bands like Tinariwen and Terakaft, becoming part of that Saharan scene, Farees's first record, Mississippi To Sahara was a low-budget project recorded in two days or so unveiling the most blues sounding African music. During his first north-American tour, in Chicago, Farees was racially profiled, arrested, and detained without any apparent reason. An alleged irregularity was also used against him to deny him entry into the US. While detained, he was interrogated about his religious beliefs, his racial identity, and treated like a potential terrorist. Back in Italy, the Italian police also detained him, handcuffing him and taking him away in a patrol car upon arrival. This detention experience led to new lyrics, new songs, and an increase of his activism. Sometime after that, while touring Canada, he received death threats filled with racial slur and insults on his Facebook account. Things these days are taking an odd turn for people of color, Muslims, and minorities in general. A couple of months after the detention, as he was suffering insomnia, anxiety, and recurrent nightmares, he thought for the first time about spoken-word songs that would tell this story, and a concept record based on it. And so, he made a concept album, a double-album entitled Border Patrol, on which he talks, sings, raps, and plays tremendous guitar -- as well as many other instruments. His poetry takes you back to the best protest music traditions, be it spoken-word African-American heroes in the late sixties or Marley and Hendrix -- in his music lyrics, sounds and rhythms are all at the same level, and it's the highest. The album also features the Tucson-based band Calexico, who shares a common interest around borders with Farees. Farees's music is hard to categorize, as with things that are genuinely new, fresh. It's a unique style, some kind of next-generation organic African-spoken-electric-blues-rock -- it's tough to describe. Singer-songwriter? Yes. Extraordinaire and innovative guitar player? Yes. Producer? Yes. Poet? Yes.