Audio

Egyptian Songstress Maryam Saleh x Oddisee 'Nouh Al Hamam'

The Oddisee produced 'Nouh Al Hamam' from Egyptian songstress Maryam Saleh is the first leak off 'Sawtuha' (due out January 24 via Jakarta Records).


In the backdrop of repressive and violent backlash from the Arab Spring, nine female artists from Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt convened to sing against "corruption, despotism, patronization and narrow-mindedness." Sawtuha (the Arabic word for "her voice") is the culmination of their two week recording session in Tunisia (organized by Berlin-based NGO MICT– Media In Cooperation and Transition), where Sudanese-American beatmaker Oddisee and Olof Dreijer (1/2 of Swedish electro-duo the Knife) came aboard to add a production hand. Egyptian songstress Maryam Saleh's Oddisee-produced "Nouh Al Hamam" is the first track from the project to surface. Listen below and stay tuned for more on Sawtuha, due out January 24th via Jakarta Records.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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