Once in a while a band comes along that makes you stand up, take notice, and remember yes, here’s music with a soul. That’s what this reporter thought of when she first heard Carl and the Reda Mafia in December last year at Musicians United – check the review here. The members are young and innocent at first glance, but their casual and friendly demeanor is not to be taken lightly. Once they take the stage, it’s a different story. Their songs are powerful with meaningful messages that relate to humanities everyday frustrations. As Carl asks the crowd to sing along to the chorus “Live today, like no tomorrow” we see cheerful faces belt out from the heart to the groovy tunes of the band.

With a fusion of Rock n’ Roll and funk, with lyrics so deep and true presented in a hip soulful fashion, these groovy new-age-rebels seem to have a plan to drive the audience to stand up against issues which does not seem to serve humanity.

What really caught our attention was Carl and the Reda Mafia’s massive social media campaign the last two months which began around Women’s Day around #HeForShe. He For She is a worldwide feminist campaign launched by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as U.N. Women who aim to promote gender equality by encouraging men to openly speak out against sexism in solidarity with the women’s rights movement. According to the website, the global initiative seeks to “put men at the center of activism and dialogue to end persistent inequalities faced by women and girls around the world” with a goal of recruiting 100,000 men and boys to combat gender inequality over the course of the next 12 months. In less than 48 hours of the campaign’s launch, He For She acquired nearly 85,000 signatures from male supporters around the world.

One of the male supporters is 24-year-old Carl Frenais the voice of Carl and the Reda Mafia.

Carl had a friend who was raped back in his home country, India. The perpetrator was never questioned or caught because the girl kept the incident to herself, because of the shame and taboo associated with rape in Indian communities. Out of frustration, Carl took it upon himself to speak to the masses about equality for women, and fighting for women’s rights through what he knows best, music. “That incident changed my life. I decided to support He For She because Men should see what it (women’s rights) is all about, it’s about finding the way to realize that women are not just secondary in life, or that men are superior,” said Carl.

“By simply telling someone to or not to do something – it will never stick into their head. When I listen to a good song with lyrics, I easily influenced by it. Music is a much stronger form of communication,” says Carl.

Carl and the Reda Mafia launched their Debut Single Fight for your Queen as a music video via Youtube to support the He For She campaign.

The video was produced by the help of Al Ghurair Center shopping mall, and Chipili, the web-service that empowers local artists. Carl admits, “It’s not even close to our best song – it was written for a cause, for a reason, as a direct message to men.”

“We receive a lot of thank you messages from men and women around the world from women who did know about the cause before the song,” said Carl. At the time of writing this article, Fight for your Queen, released 10 February 2015 has 173,630 views on YouTube!

The He For She campaign was further supported by an event in Al Ghurair Center. Carl and the Reda Mafia performed there and discussed the campaign with the audience – 500 men signed up that day!

Carl said, “My life will be completely dedicated to this cause, it doesn’t stop at a song. My next mission as a human being is to make sure every country puts a death penalty on the rape crime. I don’t realize why they have not already done it.” According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has an even more horrifying statistic to share—every 20 minutes, a woman is raped somewhere in India.

“Chivalry is not dead – it still exist.”
Carl began his fight for women’s rights through music back in Bangalore while he was in a rap band called Low Riders, Carl asked for a song on women’s rights, and in 2013, Girl, Don’t You Worry About a Thing was released and played all through the popular VH1 music channel in the country. Carl admits this is not his style of music.

A destined musician since he was a toddler singing Bon Jovi songs, Carl began his career in 2012 doing mashup covers on YouTube. One of his proudest moments was when Outlandish shared his take on Aicha. He also sang for a band called The Illusion in Mumbai. In addition, Carl was an RJ in Cochin for an English show, Lose Control with Carl Frenais. You can check out where he got his mafia connection here in his interview with Don Macaroni.
Moving to the Middle East was the best thing to happen to Carl’s music career because he claims, “I found my sound in Dubai, because I found my soulmates in composing – Tareq.”

About Carl and the Reda Mafaia

The first thing that comes to mind is the diversity of the band – Carl is from India, Tareq from Egypt, Bimbo is Nigerian and Chris is from Greece.
Formed in June 2014, these four strangers came together at SAE through friend recommendations and random posts on the internet. They instantly clicked. The spark the boys found has lit a fire that’s driven their rise to fame in less than 8 months. Few notable mentions:

– Winners of Al Ghurair Battle of the Bands – where 100 bands in the UAE battled to a crowd of 5000 people.
– No.1 for Hard Rock Rising’s online votes – final battle takes place at Dubai’s Hard Rock Café on 20th April.
– Performances in Dubai Jazz Festival, Capital Vibes II at Abu Dhabi Festival, Dubai Art Season, and also participated in events to support local musicians with Musicians United and Chipili.

Carl confirmed the band has so far 5 original songs – ‘Live Today’, ‘A Better Race’, ‘My World’, ‘Crazy Town’, and ‘Fight for Your Queen’. The songs revolve around a common theme to better humanity, starting with justice and freedom. Carl says, “Our world is at a place where it is at its worst. If it ends right now – it is okay – because our world is completely screwed up. It’s time to step up and do something. Even a small contribution, can make a difference.”

He added, “Eventually, we – the band – are going to leave a mark on this world with our songs.”

According to Carl, the band does not do covers and does not write about love, “the topic has been covered so much, it’s come to a point where people started writing, baby, baby – oh,”

Carl and the Reda Mafia are looking and doing a few more releases this year and begin working on an album, which should launch by early next year. They are also looking for a band manager – can’t blame them, they seem very busy!

So the big question – the logo for Carl and the Reda Mafia – the rat – who is it? The Rat’s name is Vito (Yes, like Vito Corleone from The Godfather). Vito the rat is the symbol of the rat race, which humanity is running. Vito escaped the rat race to become the official mascot for the band, looking for something more in life, and doing it through Rock n Roll.

We will be following Carl and the Reda Mafia to see what comes next. With their passion for justice, determination to change the world, combined with groovy and catchy sound, we predict they will go far!

Written by: Natsky D.
Edited by: NJ Bakr

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Natsky is an ardent music lover with a passion for rock, metal and electronic music. Natsky graduated 6th grade piano and 5th grade music theory, from the Royal Music School in London. She has also studied the history of rock music, and done various PR activities for musicians locally and around the world. Born in the UAE, Natsky aims to support the rock/metal music scene in the country, recognizing talent from one of the most cosmopolitan countries in the world, and discovering the sheer depth that lies behind this genre.