Audio

AFRICA IN YOUR EARBUDS #34: SAHEL SOUNDS

Fan of African Music? Download our latest AIYE mixtape from Sahel Sounds, full of underground club bangers from the Western Sahara.


Sahel Sounds is the brainchild of Chris Kirkley, a self-described "rogue ethno-musicologist" documenting undiscovered music from the West African Sahel region. The Sahel Sounds blog and vinyl label is probably best known for its highly praised release of Music From Saharan Cellphones — a collection of African music tracks found on cellphone memory cards across the Western Sahara.

For this installment of Africa In Your Earbuds (our African music mixtape series), Sahel Sounds digs up some stellar, fast-paced underground tunes from the countries he works in — mainly Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Northern Nigeria — featuring artists like Tal B, Big Kaana, Sidiki Diabate, Joloko and others.

"While Nigeria and Ghana are getting lots of love, these kids in the Sahel have been piecing together their own regional styles." Kirkley tells us, "While it's all informed by the wider spectrum of popular hip-hop, they maintain local languages and sample rhythms and instruments (like the Balifon inspired Bamako hip-hop), while experimenting with some pretty extreme synth and super energetic bpms. I've collected most of these from MP3 markets, cellphones, Youtube, and Skyrock; they're all pretty serious club bangers."

Stream and download AIYE #34: Sahel Sounds below, huge up to Underdog for the artwork. Check out the recent vinyl release of Music from Saharan Cellphones Vol. 2Visit Sahel Sounds at their Website / Bandcamp / Twitter.

TRACKLIST

Tal B - Malian Dougie (Mali)

Big Kaana - Fake Houllou Needi (Mauritania)

Annane S. - Ananne S. (Mali)

Nomiss Gee - Ghetto Super Star (Nigeria)

Pheno S. - Clash (Mali)

MC Jambala - Tim Timol (Mauritania)

Sidiki Diabate - A'muse (Mali)

Louka et Meleke - Tchatcho (Mali)

Kaidan Gaskia - Ni Ga Di (Niger)

Assourita - Jolies filles Sexy (Mali)

Nayette - Tal-B vs. Nayette (Mali)

Iba One - All (Remix) (Mali)

Joloko - Seigen (Mali)

Like African music? Previously on Africa In Your Earbuds: BEATENBERGM1 [DEAD PREZ]BODDHI SATVAL’AFRIQUE SOM SYSTEMENOMADIC WAXTHE BROTHER MOVES ONLVBEN ASSITER [JAMES BLAKE'S DRUMMER]JAKOBSNAKECHRISTIAN TIGER SCHOOLSAUL WILLIAMSTUNE-YARDSMATHIEU SCHREYERBLK JKSALEC LOMAMIDJ MOMAAWESOME TAPES FROM AFRICAPETITE NOIROLUGBENGARICH MEDINA, VOICES OF BLACK, LAMIN FOFANA, CHICO MANNDJ UNDERDOGDJ OBAHSABINEBROTHA ONACIDJ AQBTJUST A BANDSTIMULUSQOOL DJ MARVSINKANECHIEF BOIMA

Interview

Interview: The Awakening of Bas

We talk to Bas about The Messenger, Bobi Wine, Sudan, and the globalized body of Black pain.

The first thing you notice when you begin to listen to The Messenger—the new investigative documentary podcast following the rise of Ugandan singer, businessman and revolutionary political figure Bobi Wine—is Bas' rich, paced, and deeply-affecting storytelling voice.

Whether he is talking about Uganda's political landscape, painting a picture of Bobi Wine's childhood, or drawing parallels between the violence Black bodies face in America and the structural oppression Africans on the continent continue to endure at the hands of corrupt government administrations, there is no doubt that Bas (real name Abbas Hamad) has an intimate understanding of what he's talking about.

We speak via Zoom, myself in Lagos, and him in his home studio in Los Angeles where he spends most of his time writing as he cools off from recording the last episode of The Messenger. It's evident that the subject matter means a great deal to the 33-year-old Sudanese-American rapper, both as a Black man living in America and one with an African heritage he continues to maintain deep ties with. The conversation around Black bodies enduring various levels of violence is too urgent and present to ignore and this is why The Messenger is a timely and necessary cultural work.

Below, we talk with Bas aboutThe Messenger podcast, Black activism, growing up with parents who helped shape his political consciousness and the globalized body of Black pain.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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