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09/01/2020Analog Africa Readies Fantastic Compilation Of Somalian Tunes From 1974-1991

Let us now travel back in time, metaphorically speaking of course. At the tail end of 2016, Analog Africa's Samy Ben Redjeb arrived in Somalia's capital city of Mogadishu and "began rifling through piles of cassettes and listening to reel-to-reel tapes in the dusty archives of Radio Mogadishu, looking for music that 'swam against the current'." It was there that he discovered a pile of unmarked recordings that apparently nobody had bothered to mess with. The senior employee accompanying him described that pile as "mainly instrumental and strange music," which no doubt struck a chord. 

"The pile turned out to be a cornucopia of different sounds: radio jingles, background music, interludes for radio programmes, television shows and theatre plays. There were also a good number of disco tunes, some had been stripped of their lyrics, the interesting parts had been recorded multiple times then cut, taped together and spliced into a long groovy instrumental loop," the release notes read. You may have guessed that some of these archive recordings now make up the recently released "Mogadisco: Dancing Mogadishu" compilation of Somalian music dated 1974-1991, featuring a fantastic selection of tunes from golden-era Mogadishu.

This music comes from a time when funk (James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations), afrobeat (Fela Kuti), reggae (Bob Marley) and later disco music (Michael Jackson) dominated the bustling local music scene, performed by live bands in nightclubs, luxury hotels and similar venues across town; bands such as Iftin, Shareero and the more widely known Dur-Dur Band. Make no mistake, putting together this compilation – "tracking down musicians - often in exile in the diaspora - to interview them and gather anecdotes", revealing dramatic stories from a country that to this date remains riddled by conflict – was no walk in the park and took a total of three years.

Bringing us back to the end result, being this superb compilation, accompanied by an extensive and equally informative companion booklet, including 50 rare photos, ensuring that this invaluable piece of Somalian culture and musical heritage is made available for generations to come. You can buy/stream the full release below. You may also want to check out these previous releases of Somalian music: "Au Revoir, Mogadishu" and "Import / Export Mogadishu".

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom