Ostinato Records presents this essential document of Somalia’s musical golden age; before the country was torn apart by the Cold War, when Mogadishu (the “pearl of the Indian Ocean”) was prosperous and vibrant and prolific bands like Iftiin, Dur Dur and Sharero regularly entertained the city’s luxe resort guests and recorded at prolific rates. The country’s unique homegrown sound echoes aspects of the highly popular Hindi Bollywood music from the east and Fela Kuti’s beloved afrobeat sound from the west, with dense arrangements featuring traditional jazz and funk instrumentation as well as synthesizers, organs and native instruments. The recordings contained within are charismatically warm and rich, perhaps bested only by the insane story of how they ended up in our hands: in the late 80s, a dark period rife with civil war in Somalia, authoritarian ruler Siad Barre launched an air strike against the northern city Hargeisa, targeting the city’s radio station headquarters in an effort to sabotage their central communication system and thwart any chances of organized resistance. The radio station housed a huge archive of several decades’ worth of cassette tapes and master reels of Somali music, and a few brave souls went to great lengths to rescue the tapes in order to preserve the culture’s recorded history. The tapes and reels were dispatched to neighboring countries and buried deep underground in order to withstand any future airtstrikes until very recently, when the tapes were recalled back to Hargeisa to be stored in the newly-founded Red Sea Foundation archive, and digitized with the help of the Ostinato Records team. This double vinyl set collects 16 of the richest recordings from the period, including one vinyl-only bonus track not included on CD or digital versions. Best tracks: 4 Mars' "Na Daadihi," Danan Hargeysa's "Uur Hooyo," Gacaltooyo Band's "Ninkaan Ogayn," Xasan Diiriye's "Qaraami." Housed in deluxe gatefold sleeve with 16-page booklet containing extensive liner notes and photos, plus code for digital download. Recommended.
- double vinyl pressing
- gatefold sleeve
- includes 16-page booklet
- digital download included
- music label: Ostinato Records 2017
reviewed by peanut dust 09/2017
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