German record label Analog Africa has compiled songs that made waves on the dance music scene in Somalia from 1972 to 1991.
The project, titled Mogadisco – Dancing Mogadishu (Somalia 1972-1991), will be released on 13 December and features 12 tracks chosen by label founder, DJ and producer Samy Ben Redjeb.
Redjeb travelled to Mogadishu in November 2016 and found an uncovered and unmarked pile of cassettes and reel-to-reel tapes in the dusty archives of Radio Mogadishu. The pile included radio jingles, background music, interludes for radio programmes, TV shows and theatre plays.
The compilation features musicians who played between 1972 and 1991 such as Dur-Dur Band, Omar Shooli, Mukhtar Ramadan Iidi, Bakaka Band, Fadumo Qassim & Shareero Band, Iftin Band and Shimaali & Killer.
“Mogadisco was not Analog Africa’s easiest project,” the label says. “Tracking down the musicians – often in exile in the diaspora – to interview them and gather anecdotes of golden-era Mogadishu has been an undertaking that took three years.
“Tales of Dur-Dur Band’s kidnapping, movie soundtracks recorded in the basements of hotels, musicians getting electrocuted on stage, others jumping from one band to another under dramatic circumstances, and soul singers competing against each other, are all stories included in the massive booklet that accompanies the compilation adorned with not less than 50 pictures from the ’70s and ’80s.”
According to Analog Africa, the late US pop singer Michael Jackson played a pivotal role on Somalia’s music scene from 1972 to 1991.
“Michael Jackson appeared with a new sound that would revolutionise Somalia’s live music scene. You couldn’t walk the streets of Mogadishu without seeing kids trying to moonwalk.”
Other foreign sounds at that time included Afrobeat, which was first introduced by Iftin Band after their 1977 performance at the Festac Festival in Lagos.
“Not only did they [Iftin Band] come back with an award but they also returned with Afrobeat. While Fela Kuti’s ‘Shakara’ had taken over the continent and was spreading like wildfire throughout Latin America, it was the track ‘Lady’ that would become the hit in Mogadishu,” Analog Africa says.
Another vibrant sound during that period was reggae courtesy of Bob Marley. “Some say that it [reggae] was adopted so quickly because of the strong similarities with the traditional beat from the western region of Somalia, called dhaanto,”
Source: Music in Africa