SEAN HAEFELI / Sean Haefeli Mixtape

We say we’d like to hear something different from the same-old, same-old; why does all the music on the radio have to sound so much alike? Yet, when we encounter something truly different, what do we do? In general we ignore the different because in order to appreciate the newness we would have to move outside of our status-quo comfort zones.

I was intrigued when I first heard Sean Haefeli’s music but also a bit irritated that I couldn’t immediately identify what all was going on. Then I saw a photo of Sean and that significantly upped my confusion index. And that last name, was it Middle Eastern? But he was from Chicago—as if there were no Muslims of color in Chi, whose Southside back in the day was one of the headquarters and concentrations of the Nation of Islam.

Bit by bit I learned a little more about Mr. Haefeli. His father Carl Haefeli was a trumpet player with the funk ensemble the Ebony Rhythm Band.

Carl Haefeli, white cat on the left About his childhood, Sean candidly acknowledges “the two things I’ve done the longest and am strongest at are martial arts and music, both of which I started when I was seven years old.” Sean mother, a music enthusiast enrolled him in classical piano lessons. By high school he was singing and during his first year of college studied opera for a year before completing a bachelor’s in literature from Depaul. After a six month stint in France the musician decided to return to school. He’s studying jazz piano at Indiana University Bloomington.

When I searched for photos on the internet I saw the chiseled physique of a male model—but at times he also exudes the charm of the boy next door who went away to college and molded himself into someone who was obviously going places in life. Who was this cat?

And his music; the lyrics sound like modern poetry, sort of a cross between Ezra Pound in the metro and some alternative spoken word down by the Green Mill in Chicago. Jazz is the major influence but there are strong pop elements as well. Like I said, something different. Moreover, the music is adventurous. He takes unexpected twists and turns, puts lyrics you have to listen to at least thrice in order to decipher the deeptitudes being discussed. Some times it swings, some times it grooves but there is always something emotionally moving going on. Sean has one 4-track EP, Sound Strategy (2006), and one full length album, Hunger (2004). I’ve heard snippets of selections from his forthcoming release. The man is definitely doing something different and if you give his sounds half a chance, you just might find yourself embracing some wonderfully idiosyncratic, other kinds of contemporary music. Don’t be reluctant to dig the different. —Kalamu ya Salaam     Sean Haefeli Mixtape Playlist

 Natural Hunger

01 “Let Go”

02 “Bedroom Window”

03 “Game”

04 “Carousel”

05 “Enough”

06 “Density”

07 “Guess I Was Supposed To Love You”

Sound Strategy

08 “Speaking of Race”

09 “Balance”


This entry was posted on Monday, May 21st, 2012 at 10:18 am and is filed under Contemporary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “SEAN HAEFELI / Sean Haefeli Mixtape”

mark j. tuggle Says:
May 24th, 2012 at 12:36 am

i love his music! i feel the spirit of fishbone, nina simone & gino vanelli when i listen to this gifted brotha do his thang.

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