MuftiDay_Project looks at Sydney with fresh eyes

March 14th 2023

Callan Andrews-Arabi (Arabi) is an 18-year-old saxophonist who looks at the Sydney music scene with fresh eyes. Discontented with the isolating process of songwriting, he decided “to change how Sydney artists write music.”

MuftiDay_Project is the result. It proves that music can be successfully produced outside of the studio. Arabi intends to keep it going, collaborating on an original song with up-and-coming musicians every two months.

In January, Arabi brought synth-based hip hop artist ATARI Y onboard for the first session. Within the space of two months, the first track, ‘Open Up My Eyes’ made it through the idea, song writing, recording, editing, video-production, mixing, artwork and publicity stages – all with volunteer labour.

Countless musicians, including Arabi himself, jumped on the track to add an instrumental or vocal layer to the song, with ATARI Y at the centre. The result is a unique sounding track about pursuing change. With hearty saxophone, moody piano and bitter-sweet rapping; a soundscape as intricate as the many personalities combined sonically.

The collaborative nature of the project answers the questions Arabi experienced at a high school that refused to run music, forcing him to take the elective online.

“I ended up leaving school and pursuing music through TAFE. This was where I started to make the connections that would, through some rigmarole, lead to the Mufti Day Project.”

Arabi’s budding initiative makes musical collaboration accessible to those who feel adrift, as he once did. Feature artist ATARI Y found that leaving his solitary comfort zone and agreeing to work collaboratively was inspiring,

“It’s put a battery in my back… It’s given me a hunger for collaboration I never had, and a sense of community. It’s also given me confidence in myself and my art that I was severely lacking for some time.”

The music video’s director, Lana O’Brien is a screen and sound production student. She found her involvement to be a “creatively fulfilling venture.” I watched her directing at the Temperance Bar in Summer Hill, admiring her clarity and patience with volunteer actors, including two walk-ins. She described her first opportunity to direct a music video as “very educational.” She reflected:

“Sometimes young people need to create their own projects and collaborate, and most importantly, go out and actually fulfil their creative needs.”

MuftiDay_Project is innovative, communal, and inspirational, an important addition to Sydney’s music scene. It is easy to be cynical or to give up in the music industry but within the space of weeks, Arabi went from having an idea, to successfully bringing it together and inspiring dozens of young creatives along the way. He concluded:

“This whole project has had $0 in budget, so I thought finding people would be really difficult, but luckily I have a very supportive group of musos and friends around me who saw the potential in the project.”

Looking towards the future, Arabi hopes MuftiDay_Project to be something that brings the Sydney music community together.

“I want to work with as many artists as I can and build a platform for more established musicians to help new and emerging musicians.”

The song, ‘Open Up My Eyes’, and its accompanying music video are out now.


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