Born and raised in the Syrian city of Aleppo, Nihad Alabsi and Philippe Zarif grew up listening to bootlegged cassettes and CDs. Their playful and energetic sound as Boshoco draws deeply from nostalgia, as seen on this latest release, ‘Semsem’, which features a prominent mizmaar sample, as well as samples of children cheering, drawn from the original run of Arabic Sesame Street.
Released on Dutch label, Sinchi, 'Semsem' is also accompanied by two noteworthy remixes. Damon Jee (of Roam and Sincopat fame) brings his usual dark disco stylings with moody synths and sci-fi inspired textures. Meanwhile, South Korean producer and co-founder of Uju Records, Shubostar, delivers a much more minimal take on 'Semsem’, stripping the track down to its most minimal components, and then building it up again with a grinding bassline and splashing cymbals bursting with moody, late-night energy.
Featuring artwork from acclaimed aboriginal artist, Wayne Quilliam, 'Semsem' is a homage to "the little pretty things that made life sweet in Aleppo and to the heavier emotions that came to it with time."
Activism has been a large part of Boshoco since the project's inception, the two having first met while volunteering at a camp that aided people displaced from their homes. Following the violence in Syria, the two moved to Turkey, and ended up as residents at Temple Club in Istanbul. Recently, due to the restrictions of movement on Syrians, the duo had to split, with one half receiving political asylum in France, and the other moving to Beirut. Despite this, the project has continued to work remotely.
All proceeds from the release of 'Semsem' will be donated to non-profit NGO, Jusoor (translating to 'Bridges'), who build opportunities in education and entrepreneurship for young Syrians. Currently, the project supports the basic education for over 7000 Syrian refugee children in Lebanon and provides scholarship opportunities for those displaced by the ongoing conflict in Syria, with the goal of training "the next generation of talented Syrian entrepreneurs to rebuild Syria's future."
In speaking on the release of 'Semsem', Grace Atkinson, Executive Director of Jusoor said; “We are very grateful to Sinchi and Boshoco for donating the proceeds of their new EP to Jusoor. Music is a catalyst for change and these funds will help young Syrians to build bridges to a brighter future."