Lost but not least! DJ Fudge & Ezel feat Mani Hoffman – Call My Name (Original Mix) (Tejal)
‘Call My Name…’ I could call theirs countless times when in front of pieces of music like this. A cut we welcomed back in March 2012 as our Single Of The Week on our Facebook page. And no doubt as to how it would have found its space at the top of our 10 essential 2012 gems. As to how we would welcome it with the same enthusiasm. Should it go for a release these days!
‘Call My Name’ is just an invitation one can’t resist to. Of course, it has a lot to do with Mani Hoffman‘s vocal delivery bringing us sky-high. But how about its stellar production? A delicate blend of lush keys with a subtle jazzy rhythm guitar part courtesy of Enzo Cicala. This, along with David Vasquez syncopating the whole with his rumblin’ bassline over an Afro-Latin rhythm pattern.
‘Call My Name…’ We’re just speakin’ here of another timeless masterpiece!
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– Living in Hong Kong, Frenchman DJ Fudge is one of the most versatile and prolific House music artists of his generation. In 1994, he along with Bruno Banner founded the band Savannah, dropping their first single, ‘Rumeurs’, soon after.
The adventure took a new turn the year after when they signed with Universal Records. There, they gained access to production equipment which allowed them to collaborate with Dawn Tallman and Mary J. Blige, releasing ‘What’s The Deal’ and ‘So Good To Me’.
Fast Forward to 1999, and the guys had become part of the highly influential French Touch. They gave birth to Troublemen, with their first hit being ‘Do It’. This release which was to become a dance floor anthem, quickly launched them among the most respected House music artists back then.
Always looking out for new projects, DJ Fudge created Afromento, and after releasing only two 12 inches, he got into the playlists of the top DJ’s with ‘Human Waves’.
By 2007, he started working with Defected Records and produced a long list of remixes, experimenting with a new sound and a new scene. In addition, he has released and remixed for many dance premier labels. From Purple Music to Hardsoul, Soulfuric and Stalwart to name a few.
Fudge also has his own label, Tejal Records. Tejal being a female first name of Indian origins which means “brilliance’. One might remember ‘Mechouga’, from his ‘Nightglows’ EP which Soulfuric licensed soon after with remixes courtesy of DJ Spen and Karizma. And how to not think of the outstanding ‘Call My Name’ featuring Mani Hoffman which he did in collaboration with Ezel back in 2012? But also of the delightful ‘Try’ along with British singer Marie Tweak by the end of 2015…
Then one could also quote ‘Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing’ that saw him as well sharing the duties with Hoffman. Or, more recently, the infectious ‘Canto Para Elegua’ along with Cuban salsero Angel Yos. Not to mention the mesmerizing ‘Ding Ding’ featuring Omar. A gem he crafted back in 2014 along with Hallex M, then given a remix by the likes of DJ Beloved by the beginning of 2018…
– A sort of contraction of the nickname his parents gave him after his birth (‘Es El’ meaning ‘That’s Him’ in Spanish)… Ezel is one of the most creative minds and attaching faces one might think of.
Ezel first evolved as keyboard player at a local church back in 2001. There, he started in a initial romance with Gospel vibes that led to deep search and desire to understand and express the groove. This became a life purpose. He became progressively and naturally a very active musician. Thus playing in local Funk and Soul bands in his native Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It was thru jamming and doing late night shows where Funk and R&B met Deep House that his path as an electronic soul oriented performer was lit.
In 2007, he came to meet Osunlade at an event in Santo Domingo. The latter instantly became an inspiration for him. That introduction led him to later meeting and working actively with Ocha Recordings label head Carlos Mena. A label where Ezel released the majority of his early working including his album, ‘Secreto’. An album which features the memorable ‘In My Lifetime’ which he recorded with Tamara Wellons. This song became a top hit at the time. Mostly due to an incredible remix by the likes of Deetron which everyone would play. From Gilles Peterson to Jimpster, Joey Negro, Osunlade, and the list goes on…
It was then that Ezel decided to move somewhere where he could build up a fan base, network and keep raising his flag in the music movement. He first moved to the United States. There, he extensively played in the hottest clubs and parties. From Miami to New York, Chicago, Boston and the likes.
This experience also brought some essential transformations to his being. It was during this trip that Ezel started his path in the African based tradition of Lucumi. He received his elekes and guerreros. And from then, he began defining his way though the guidance and work of the Orishas and spirits.
In 2011, Ezel returned to the Dominican Republic. He soon after managed to be selected for a full scholarship to study Audio Engineering at the prestigious SAE School in Barcelona, Spain. An opportunity which allowed him to relocate to Europe and play in clubs and parties. Be it in Spain, Greece, France Belgium or Holland. He eventually went to Japan, where he played at the 2011 edition of the Tokyo Crossover Jazz Festival. There, he shared the stage with the likes of Paul Randolph (Jazzanova). But also Navasha Daya (Fertile Ground) and Kyoto Jazz Massive among other artists.
He soon after delivered one of his most beautiful compositions by the likes of ‘Call My Name’. A cut which he composed and produced with DJ Fudge, with French singer Mani Hoffman reaching a rare degree of emotion.
Transformation also came in times of uncertainty. The illness and subsequent departing of his beloved grandmother in early 2013 made him return back to his Dominican Republic facing troubles to re-adapt to his old reality.
These were very difficult times in which virtually no work was done. But very valuable lessons were learned in terms of acceptance as a means to move forward.
Now, with a refreshed attitude and more weight to his vision and sense of self, Ezel oozes the initial excitement that brought him close to greatness in the past. Just like on the firing remix he did of ‘Behind The Veil’ for Tamara Wellons back in 2015 for instance.
Willing to join the conversation again, he recently released a brand new EP thru his own bandcamp page. Itself showcasing deeper and more brave sounds following none other than the light of his own.
His growth process allowed him to reach out and collaborate with other artists in more intimate and personal ways. Some of this collaborations are almost breaking out, some of them should see the light in future months/years.
Ezel has changed. Although his vision and ambition continue. Meanwhile, he refined his desire to reach and connect with his audience.
As a matter of fact, it would seem like he has reached that time in his life where all the tools are put in place to fully grasp his full potential. To some, that’s maturity. Meanwhile to others, that’s growth. But whatever you call it, if you have felt this before, you know its an exciting place to be…
With the launch of his own label, Bayacou Records, Ezel strives to seek even higher grounds in terms of music. This with the help of a strong spiritual vibe behind. Regardless of what shape or form the music takes, the voice that resonates from within is instantly recognizable. It is the one of creating without limitations and always from the heart. A reflection of what true art is all about.
No wonder why he felt like he had to get back to his ‘Origins’ when reopening his account back in 2017…