Ophir “Kutiman” Kutiel is a 25 year old musician, composer and producer from Tel Aviv. He plays drums, keyboards, guitar and bass. His music draws influences from afro beat, psychedelic rock, funk and reggae but in different way than most disciples of Fela and Mr. Brown have done before him. Clever heads may even spot some Special AKA, Chocolate Watchband or the pre-historic drum-machine Sly Stone introduced on “There’s A Riot Goin’ On”.
Believe it or not, it was only five years ago, that Kutiman was introduced to the music of Fela Kuti and James Brown, through his friend and now musical partner DJ Sabbo.
“The fact that Sabbo introduced me to the amazing world of funk and afrobeat simply changed my life” says Kuti, who today is an integral part of the small but growing groove scene in Tel Aviv.
Music-fans may have heard about the local rave scene but most people think about the Middle East conflict and the pain and suffering that it brings to the lifes of all people living in the region, when they think of Israel’s second biggest city. Kutiman’s first single “No Groove Where I Come From” with Elran Dekel on vocals was his comment on being a musician in Tel Aviv. “There are some great and gifted musicians in Tel Aviv, but the scene is so small we could all meet up in my room” he explains.
The reactions on “No Groove Where I Come From” were simply phenomenal. Tastemakers like Gilles Peterson, Diplo and Roskow (Jazzanova) were instantly hooked, the Parisien afrobeat community welcomed Kutiman with open arms and and “Straight No Chaser” magazine dubbed him “Psychedelic space funk architect”. But once you listen to Kutiman’s whole album, you realise that afrobeat is only one shade of Kuti’s kaleidoscopic sound. From Westindian grooves and easy listening to rock and soul and even pop there are no barriers.
Elran Dekel (lead singer of Funk’n’stein), Karolina (Funset) and Chaka Moon are sharing vocal duties, Dotan â€œSangitâ€œ Segal and Idan K are playing percussions and the whole Funk’nâ€™stein brass section (Shlomi Alon, Yair Slutzki, Sefi Zisling) is featured too. And it was Kuti’s longtime friend and production partner in various other projects, Ronen Sabbo, who helped mixing the album.
“Psychedelic space funk architect” Straight No Chaser (London)
“Absolutley feeling this one right now” – Gilles Peterson (Worldwide)
“Beautifully heavy.” â€“ Turntable Lab (New York/LA)
“Steady psycho folkrock funk monster” – Roskow Kretschmann (Jazzanova)
“Mostly perfect for summer jamming purposes.” The Fader (New York)
“Modern psychedelic funk from Tel Aviv” – Dusty Groove (Chicago)
“Definitely one to watch!” – DJ Magazine (London)