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RPM: Xela

“I was born and bred in South London but I’m British-Lebanese-Palestinian. I grew up on the idea that all cultures are worth appreciating, so you can expect the broadest of world music styles in my sets – everything from rai to calypso, salsa to disco, bossanova to breakbeat, house and more.

Music is my sanctuary and always has been. Both my parents worked in the industry so I’ve grown up with great songs all through my life. It’s like home.”

Show some love, follow 👉 @xelasounds

Each week we will be taking a dip into the crates and minds of some of the digging scenes most prolific collectors.

🤔 Who should be on the next RPM feature?

What were your earliest musical influences?

My first love is old school hip-hop.

Primo, Nas, Mos Def – all those guys, which makes sense because there’s so much soul and funk sampled in their work.

Name one institution that changed your life musically… and why?

Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh. The tiniest, happiest club you’ll have ever been too. That place totally threw me into the world of disco – Tuesdays, £2 entry.

One record that sums up your happiest memories and where does it take you back to?

The afro-cuban genius which is Afrocubism, especially the track ‘Jarabi’ . Reminds me of driving along the coast in South Africa and peaceful times with friends.

Favourite record labels of all time?

Fania has to be up there, for all the incredible salsa they released between about ’67-’85. Salsoul, too, for the work they did with First Choice and Loleatta Holloway.

It’s a slothy Sunday… what tune are you hanging out to?

It’s actually a slothy Sunday as I’m writing this… raining outside, feet up. Currently on the speakers is ‘Happy Me’ by Kleer. Up next is ‘Bahia, Minha Preta’ by Gal Costa. Totally serene.

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