Fatima Spar and The Freedom Fries

Fatima Spar’s roots lie in Turkey, but she was born in Hohenems, Vorarlberg, as Nihal Sentürk. Meanwhile, the jazz musician lives in Vienna and has made a name for herself with her band The Freedom Fries. Originally, Fatima Spar and The Freedom Fries started out as a modern swing band. The Viennese sextet has now grown to an octet with a multicultural background and has released two albums: “Zirzop” and “Trust”, which were released by geco Label.
The foundation for establishing the band was made by the two musicians Philipp Moosbrugger on double bass and Erwin Schober on drums, who started as a duo, performing only with their instruments and computer samples. Philipp soon got acquainted with the singer Nihal and they decided from then to make music together. Soon enough the three of them expanded to a quintet. Most members of the band have a jazz background, others are self-taught, Erwin Schober comes from the rock corner.

The first album “Zirop” was recorded in 2006 in just three weeks: The recordings were produced by Stefan Ehgartner. In the same year, the album was nominated for the Austrian Amadeus Award. Yet the band did not have much time to take notice of the appreciation for their album, since they were touring abroad. The album Zirzop was a huge success and thrilled listeners at home and abroad with dance music.

The second album “Trust” was recorded in 2008 in a studio in Frankfurt by the production team Hazelwood. Fatima Spar and the Freedom Fries convince with oriental grooves, ranging from swing and jungle up to the depths of brass music. No matter if characterized as world music, swing or pop, Fatima Spar’s music can not be placed into any genre. The power of their music originates from the live jams, which Fatima Spar has developed and perfected to a new art form. A significant part of the musical process is created together in the band and most of the arrangements are developed in band rehearsals. The musical director Philipp Moosbrugger is not solely responsible for the compositions – the other musicians of the band have their equal share in the creative process.

In 2008, Fatima was Ambassador of the “European Year of Intercultural Dialogue”. Rightly so, as the number of gigs abroad, including Russia, Belgium, Holland, England, Cairo and Turkey show that her music is well received worldwide and has no language barriers. Her band, the Freedom Fries, is a genuine group of thoroughbred musicians: Alexander Wladigeroff plays the flugelhorn and trumpet, Andrej Prosorov the soprano saxophone, Milos Todorovski on the keys, Philipp Moosbrugger on double bass and Erwin Schober on the drums. Most recently, new band members joined: Florian Wagner on guitar, Phil Yaeger on trombone and Martin Eberle on trumpet and flugelhorn.

Fatima Spar is featured on the new “Wien Musik 2010” album with a Turkish song “Istanbul darf nicht Wien werden” (Engl. Don’t let Istanbul become Vienna). It is an older song, and is a hint at an election poster of a right-wing political party in Austria, which read the slogan “Don’t let Vienna become Istanbul”. The Fatima Spar song may be seen as a reaction to the subject of this Austrian political party.
“We will always pick up political issues, if it concerns us. I personally, as a writer, write about everything that moves me, what is important to me and the group, and the political component is definitely also one of my subjects”, Fatima Spar said in a mica interview.


Markus Egger
translated from the German by Doris Miyung Brady