Audio

East African DJ Collective Santuri Safari's Uganda Exclusives

East African DJ collective Santuri Safari premieres hip-hop and house tracks recorded at a pop up studio at DoaDoa in Iganga, Uganda.


Photo of Saint Evo The Myth by Link Reuben for Sauti za Busara

Santuri Safari are a loose collective of DJs, producers and musicians based in East Africa. Responding to what they perceive to be contemporary East African music's identity crisis in the face of global influences (specifically citing the influence of mainstream hip-hop and R&B), the project brings electronic and hip-hop DJs/producers together with local musicians to make "underground" electronic dance music in east Africa. So far they've run production workshops and studio sessions in Zanzibar (at the Sauti Za Busara Festival) and Uganda (at the DoaDoa Festival). Later this month they'll set up their third pop up studio at Kenya's Rift Valley Festival in partnership with Nairobi creative hub Creatives Garage. Ahead of the event, the Santuri team shared two tracks with us recorded at their DoaDoa sessions in Iganga, Uganda, back in April.

First up is a pan-East African hip-hop collaboration entitled "Tusimame." Building on a foundation of samples recorded from a mbaire xylophone, Dar-based producer Ambrose “Dunga” Akwabi and Kampala producer/rapper DJ Rachael teamed up on a call for east Africa's hip-hop community to stand up. Ugandan crooner Giovanni Kremer Kiyingi lays down an easy breezy hook while six rappers from across the region (Reco Lyco, 
Ram Emcee, Ugly Emcee, Shamsila, DJ Rachael, and Bamulumba Yasin aka Jungle De Maneater) lend freestyled verses in Luganda, Swahili, Luga and Luso dialects. Listen on below and watch Santuri sound engineer Sam Jones break down the process behind the xylophone sample in a video here.

"Kanekasi (Esa's Dark Meme Remix)" is proper club music that uses the same xylophone sample as "Tusimame." Ugandan folk artist Joel Sebunjo, though known for his kora playing, contributes vocals as Giovanni Kremer Kiyingi and Kenya's Sarabi lend their fiddle and guitar to production from Nairobi's Celsius Degree head honch Saint Evo The Myth, Kampala's DJ Ivo and UK/South Africa's Auntie Flo collaborator Esa Williams. Ambrose (Akula Akwabi), Esa and Uganda’s Dark Meme (Ken Mvvalye) tagteam on a psychedelic house remix, which you can listen to below.

Find out more about Santuri Safari via their facebook page here. Their next pop up studio hits Kenya's Rift Valley Festival August 29th-31st.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

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Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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