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Economic Partnership Agreement

by Sven Kacirek & Daniel Mburu Muhuni

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  • Limited LP Edition
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    The LP of this album comes in a gatefold cover which includes a 30 page booklet with all lyrics, photos and further background on the EPA project from the perspectives of the artists. It has been beautifully designed by Totaleclipseoftheheart. Limited to 200 hand-numbered copies.

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The Economic Partnership Agreement is an agreement that was initiated between the European Union and the African Caribbean Pacific Countries. These EPAs as we call them were a successor of the Cotonou Agreement that happened in Benin in the year 2000.   It is called the Cotonou Partnership Agreement. Before that we had the Lomé Conventions: Lomé I, II, III, IV. So before the Cotonou Agreement we had the Lomé Agreement, that ran between 1975 to the year 2000. There were 4 successive phases of the Lomé Agreement. We had Lomé I, that ran from 1975 to 1980. We had Lomé II, that happened between 1980 to 1985. We had Lomé III, that happened between1985 to 1990. We had Lomé IV, that happened between 1990 to the year 2000. And then when WTO came into force, the World Trade Organisation, it came out that this agreement was not WTO compliant. The structures of trade, that initially was happening in Africa, basically was the structures of the colonialist in the making. Because most of the countries that were colonised in Africa were taken as breeding grounds for agricultural products and other raw materials. And of course we know: How economies of EU have grown is because of exploitation during the colonial times. So in the year 2000 when the Cotonou Agreement came into force, it was looked as one way of providing a reciprocal trade agreement. So to make it a reciprocal is when we had the Economic Partnership Agreement We have always argued that ACP   African Caribbean Pacific Countries  is not able to be reciprocal with the EU because… I mean it's only God that protects us …it’s a scenario where David is fighting Goliath. We have been offended by the world leadership - not Kenyan leadership. world leadership, which controls EPA and WTO. And during the collapse of the WTO meeting in Cancun… They don't protect us. …I was there. I was one of the small scale farmers who had gone out to speak on behalf of the small scale farmers on how free trade was affecting farmers in Africa. How farmers were losing their livelihood and how farmers were losing their lives because of free trade. They want us to open our markets as much as they open theirs. And the European Union - they can't be trusted. Like now they forced Kenya and Ruanda to sign alone. As a farmer we have been speaking about: Why don’t we be allowed to decide our destiny and our food security as a country than to be pushed to grow crops, which we don't earn anything.  


Interviews recorded with people in Kenya about an “Economic Partnership Agreement” (EPA) mark the core of ten compositions by Sven Kacirek and Daniel Mburu Muhuni. They have spoken to dozens of people affected by this free trade agreement between the EU and the African Pacific Countries. While EPA is being negotiated mainly outside of the limelight of international attention, this album is an approach to shed a critical light onto the complex circumstances and inhumane side effects of global trade.
This is a musical oral history. The spoken words are the vocals of the tracks. The artists have left the rhythm and tonality of the voices untouched. The statements are simply collaged into subthemes. Subsequently, Kacirek and Muhuni have dubbed the voices with their instruments (mallets, piano, percussion, synthesizer, and many more).
The result is nothing less than a mesmerizing stream of consciousness.

Sven Kacirek has travelled to Kenya many times, always on the quest for musical inspiration and collaborations. The most famous result are his “Kenya Sessions” from 2011 (Pingipung 020). With this new album, Kacirek and his musical partner Muhuni focus on an intercultural exchange which aims at more than beautiful music: Unveiling voices about global trade from a Kenyan perspective.


"Vor allem aber nimmt die Musik die Stimmen derer ernst, die von diesem Leben berichten. Kacirek und Muhuni spielen die Sprachmelodien der Interviewten nach, mit Marimbas, Daumenklavieren, Perkussionsinstrumenten. So wird aus den Erzählungen der Bauern und Aktivisten, aus ihrer Aufregung, ihrem Zorn und ihrer Enttäuschung ein eigener Klang. Über ein Jahr hat Sven Kacirek an diesem Werk gearbeitet. Und sich zunehmend geärgert: über Politiker, die angesichts der Flüchtlingskrise erklärten, man müsse die Fluchtursachen bekämpfen, und in Verhandlungen wie denen über das Economic Partnership Agreement genau das Gegenteil machen."

Christoph Twickel in: Die Zeit, 25.Dec.2017


released November 30, 2017


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Sven Kacirek Hamburg, Germany

Sven Kacirek played with Shabaka Hutchings, Marc Ribot, John McEntire, Sofia Jernberg, Stefan Schneider, Nils Frahm, Ogoya Nengo, Hauschka, F.S. Blumm, Alexander Schubert, Bernd Begemann, Samy Deluxe, a.o.

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