Before there was YouTube and the interwebs, there was 3 Mustafas 3.

Many of you are too young to even understand what it was like way back then, but it was nearly impossible to find music from other places unless you yourself went there. Seriously. If you were into Reggae, you had to know someone who went to Jamaica, it really was like that. I had a Reaggae radio show on KGOU in Norman OK in 1982-3 and I literally relied on spring breakers bringing me back the latest dancehall 12". Hard to imagine these days.

That's what made the Mustafas such a big revelation, being Europeans who could get across to points East and bring stuff back with them, they became a gateway to a whole generation of world music pioneers. The show was campy to the hilt, playing upon the ignorance of cultures behind the Iron Curtain, they always approached the music with genuine respect and affection. In point of fact, they were touring the US before we here even had a "world music" infrastructure, groundbreaking in another respect.


Speaking for myself, I can honestly say that were it not for having seen their show with Brave Combo in Dallas TX back in '89, I assure you no one in the Yiddish music world would have ever heard about me. I'd most likely be in Nashville hustling a Bluegrass career like I had originally planned, having never toured all over Eastern Europe with Boban Markovic or recording with Frank London's Klezmer Brass All Stars, joining the Other Europeans Project, etc...

There seems to be an explosion of of interest in Balkan and World music here in the US, but for some reason no one seems to remember 3M3 at all. So, here's a public shout out to Ben Mandelson for being the conduit for so much wonderful music and experience in my and so many others lives.