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Various – Sweet As Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes (2LP)
Friday, July 21st, 2017 | Posted in Products | Comments Off on Various – Sweet As Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes (2LP)

Image: 1610775 In 1988, on the eve of a two decade civil war, Somalia’s authoritarian ruler Siad Barre launched punishing air strikes on the north of the country, known today as Somaliland, in response to agitations for independence. The bombing leveled the entire city. Barre targeted Radio Hargeisa to prevent any kind of central communication system that could organize a resistance.

With the attack imminent, a few brave radio operators and dedicated vanguards of Somali culture knew the archives, containing over half a century of Somali music had to be preserved. Thousands upon thousands of cassette tapes and master reels were quickly removed from the soon-to-be targeted buildings. They were dispersed to neighboring countries like Djibouti and Ethiopia, and buried deep under the ground to withstand even the most powerful airstrikes.

“We buried them in the ground so the bomb’s won’t hit,” one former leading journalist with Radio Hargeisa told us.

These audio artifacts were excavated and recalled from their foreign shelters only very recently. Some of those recordings are now kept safe in the 10,000-strong cassette tape archive of the Red Sea Foundation, the largest collection of Somali cassettes in the world, in Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa. The Ostinato Records team digitized a large portion of the archive, distilling 15 songs that reveal the panoramic diversity of styles and sophistication of Somali musicianship.

Over a millennia of trade in the Indian Ocean invited the cultures of the Arabian Peninsula, Persia, India, Southeast Asia, and even China to slowly work their melodies, scales, and sounds into Somalia’s rich musical repertoire. Each track is a keen illustration of a carefully refined, rarely revealed cultural crossroads of the world.

The archive offered a living window to the Mogadishu of the 1970s and 1980s, when the coastal capital glistened as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean,” when wine flowed freely. With its iconic ivory-colored architecture and crescent beaches overlooking the Indian Ocean, Mogadishu was home to the lavish Al Uruba and Jazira sea side hotels, where youthful bands like Iftiin, Sharero, and Dur Dur serenaded cosmopolitan crowds at some of the most elegant nightclubs in East Africa. These damaged cassettes evoked memories of the revered national theater, where Waaberi Band provided unforgettable soundtracks.

Mogadishu’s nightlife culture was rich and booming. Raucous rhythms, rugged horns, celestial synthesizers, and stalking baselines came alive alongside majestic voices like Mahmud “Jerry” Hussen and powerful and adored female singers like Faadumo Qaasim, Hibo Nuura, and Sahra Dawo. Somali music of this era is set apart by its empowerment of women. Female singers, often more prolific than their male counterparts, are inseparable from its evolution. Half the compilation is sung by women, their voices often compared in Somali poetry to the sweetness of broken dates. Poetry, intrinsic to the cultural fabric, forms the foundation of Somali songwriting.

Somali music’s golden age, curiously, occurred under a socialist military dictatorship, which effectively nationalized the music industry. A thriving scene was owned entirely by the state. Music was recorded for and by national radio stations and only disseminated through public broadcasts or live performances. Private labels were virtually non-existent. This music was never made available for mass release. Almost all recorded material came from original masters or homemade recordings of radio broadcasts. As a result, most of it has never been heard outside Somalia and the immediate region.

During the Cold War, Somalia drifted between Soviet and American support — and a decade of U.S. backing allowed soul and funk to capture the imagination of Somali youth, adding the final touch on this masterpiece era.

This project took our team to Mogadishu, Hargeisa, Djibouti, and across the Somali diaspora in Europe, the United States, and the Middle East. For the last year, from Minnesota to Mogadishu to Malaysia, we have tracked down the musicians, songwriters, composers, former government officials, and quirky personalities that colored Somali music life. Their words and stories are revealed in a 15,000-word liner note booklet — the only document of its kind to cover this era of Somali music in depth.

Alongside the story of Somalia’s music before the civil war, the selection is also focused on the pan-Somali sound. Spread over much of the Horn of Africa, Somali language and culture transcend arbitrary borders. Somali singers from Djibouti were at home in Mogadishu.

This compilation seeks to revive the rightful image, history, and identity of the Somali people, detached from war, violence, piracy, and the specter of a persistent threat. These 15 tracks should serve as a necessary starting point.

Tracklisting
1. Nimco Jamaac – Buuraha U Dheer (The Highest Mountains)
2. Aamina Camaari – Rag waa Nacab iyo Nasteexo (Men are Cruel and Kind)
3. Ali Nuur – Unknown
4. Hibo Nuura – Haddii Hoobalkii Gabay (If the Artist Let’s You Down)
5. Gacaltooyo Band – Ninkaan Ogayn (He Who Does Not Know) [feat. Faduumina Hilowle]
6. Iftiin Band – Xuduud Ma Leh Xubigaan (This Love Has No Boundaries) [feat. Mahmud Abdalla “Jerry” Hussen & Maryan Naasir]
7. Xasan Diiriye – Qaraami (Love)
8. Dur Dur Band – Gorof (Elixir) [feat. Sahra Dawo]
9. Sharaf Band – Kadeed Badanaa Naftaydani (My Life is Full of Tribulations) [feat. Xaawo Hiiraan]
10. 4 Mars – Na Daadihi (Guide Us)
11. Danan Hargeysa – Uur Hooyo (Mother’s Womb) [feat. Mohamed “Huro” Abdihashi]
12. Sharero Band – Qays iyo Layla (Romeo & Juliet) [feat. Faadumo Qaasim]
13. Waaberi – Oktoobar Waatee? Waa Taayadii (What’s October? It’s Ours)
14. Danan Hargeysa – Mama (feat. Mohamed “Huro” Abdihashi)
15. Dur Dur Band – Duruuf Maa Laygu Diidee (Rejected Due to My Circumstance) [feat. Muqtar Idi Ramadan]
16. Iftiin Band – Anaa Qaylodhaanta (feat. Mahmud Abdalla “Jerry” Hussen)

Available from 01.09.2017

Amara Toure – Amara Toure (2LP)
Friday, May 15th, 2015 | Posted in Products | Comments Off on Amara Toure – Amara Toure (2LP)

Image: 1596804 The enigmatic Amara Touré from Guinée Conakry finally getting a well deserved compilation showcasing all of the 10 songs ever released between 1973 and 1980. Cuban influenced music of a different kind featuring amazing spaced-out guitar works!! Analog Africa compiles a complete collection of Amara Touré’s Afro-Cuban compositions, originally released between 1973 and 1980.

“Lamento Cubana and Temedy are the two finest Afro-Cuban compositions ever recorded. As if they were played in a smokey, poorly lit ballroom where dark rum was sipped ever so slowly” – Vikram Sohonie – Ostinato Records

Analog Africa to release a compilation by Amara Toure, the enigmatic Afro-Cuban musician from Guinea-Conakry, showcasing all of the 10 songs he ever released between 1973 and 1980.

“Latin music, is it really foreign to us Africans? I don’t think so. Listen to the drums, to the rhythm. It all seems very close to us – it feels like it’s our own culture,” declared enigmatic singer Amara Toure.

It is the late 50s, and Senegal is going crazy to the groove of Son Montuno and Patchanga. Brought to West Africa by Cuban sailors in the early 40s, these styles were immediately adopted by a flourishing music scene that did not hesitate to embrace the Caribbean sound, mixed it with their own Folklore, and, in the process, created something new. Through the unique cultural fusion of West African and Caribbean influences, Latin music took on a new and unique sound – the format was reinvented.

Producer Ibra Kasseì and his Miami nightclub acted as the spearheads of this movement. They brought a breath of fresh air into Dakar’s nightlife, further energising one of West Africa’s most exciting cities. The demand for ballroom parties and live acts exploded, attracting numerous musicians from surrounding countries. One of the musicians who answered this call was percussionist and singer Amara Toureì, from Guinea-Conakry. Spotted by Kasseì while performing with Dexter Johnson, Toureì was asked if he would like to be part of a new project. Little did he know that this project would become a phenomenon.

Immensely important for the development of Senegalese modern music, Le Star Band de Dakar, led by Mady Konate, became a sort of musical incubator and workshop, where many musicians learned and practiced their trade before moving on to become stars in their own right. Toureì’s talent on percussion was undeniable, but it was his powerful and raw voice that captivated the producer. The fascinating way Toure interpreted Cuban music was unparalleled, and it was this feature that encouraged Kasse to recruit the unknown artist.

Although already brimming with incredible talent, Amara Toure’s joining of Le Star Band de Dakar in 1958 began the band’s meteoric rise to the top. The band quickly became Dakar’s number one orchestra, and it cemented the reputation of the Miami nightclub as the hottest spot in the country. The place was packed nightly, and Dakar was boiling.

Amara Toure’s Senegalese adventure lasted for ten years when he received an irrefutable offer and in 1968, joined by a few talented Senegalese musicians, headed to Cameroon and immediately formed the Black and White ensemble. Many live gigs later and it was time for the first songs to be recorded. A total of three singles were produced between 1973 and 1976. These singles, representing the first six songs on this compilation, fully epitomise and distill the essence of what Toureì had learned during his career. His Mandingue roots fused with the Senegalese sound that he had mastered – the perfect foundation for the Toureì’s Cuban interpretations.

If Toure’s intention was to create the most sensual music ever recorded in Africa, he might very well have reached this goal. The musicians on the recording sound like they are playing in a smokey, poorly lit juke joint, where dark rum was sipped ever so slowly, and the pulse of the music took up a life of its own. How many couples have danced, swayed, and melted together to the distinct sound of Amara Toure? Nobody can say for sure …

Amara Toureì’s success poured across the borders of Cameroon, and in 1980 he went to Libreville, Gabon, to team up with the powerful Orchestre Massako. Toureì recorded an LP at that time which is hailed by many music aficionados as one of the very best African albums. The songs from that LP are the last four on this compilation.

It took only ten songs for Amara Toureì to become a legend. These ten treasures, representing Toure ìs complete discography, have been carefully re-mastered from original session tapes and vinyl records, and will be released by Analog Africa on 22 June 2015.

After the release of his LP in 1980, Toureì seems to have disappeared. Apparently he was last seen in Cameroon but it is unknown if he is still alive today. His music though is definitely alive.

Tracklisting
1. N’Nijo
2. Temedy
3. Lamento Cubano
4. Cuando Llegare
5. Fatou
6. N’ga Digne M’be
7. Salamouti
8. Afalago
9. Tela
10. Africa Available from 26.06.2015

Bottin
Thursday, July 16th, 2009 | Tags: , , ,
Posted in Charts, Magazine | No Comments »

William Bottin is an incredible talented dj and producer from Venice, Italy, who also makes music and sound design for advertising, film and interactive media. He played and worked for artists and cultural institutions such as the Cannes International Film Festival, the Villa Manin Center for Contemporary Arts, Centro Internazionale d’Arte e Cultura Palazzo Te […]

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