Caravan Strange: “Samra”

SXSW attracts musical acts and fans alike from all over. As a result, curated regional/national showcases usually get a pretty big draw, usually with at least a handful of locals in attendance. Yet beyond that week-long whirlwind of global sounds, us Austinites can easily take our year-round resident international acts for granted. Sure, we’ve got our fair of “world music” groups, but their Central Texas “twist” typically appropriates the most exotic-sounding bits without representing the full cultural context. And sadly, outside of treasures like Flamingo Cantina and Sahara Lounge, these whitewashed pastiches often overshadow their more-authentic counterparts in terms of streaming numbers and live opportunities.

Amid the more recent roster of “genuine” Austin world acts? Caravan Strange. This fresh-faced four-piece was co-founded by Cairo-raised guitarist-composer Moe Diab, whose Egyptian upbringing invites all kinds of North African sounds into the quartet’s bilingual, cross-continental formulas. Caravan Strange’s wacky cavalcade began in early 2021 with a real reggae banger that sets itself apart with prominent ethnic percussion and amazing Arabic scale melodies. And after a brief break, this odd convoy continues towards Bazaar Bizarre, the homophonic umbrella that several new tunes have been huddling under since April.

Bazaar Bizarre‘s officially at five tracks now, each as nuanced as its predecessor. So start working your way back through Caravan Strange’s wagon train with the latest of two singles that dropped last week. Sporting some sweet Middle-Eastern-inspired MIDI tones, prolific instrumental riffs, and infectious call-and-response vocals, “Samra” also spoils us with some Walter Becker-esque guitar, almost like Steely Dan stepped into Caravan Strange’s oasis for the final thirty seconds.


Caravan Strange

Caravan Strange: “Samra”

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