Music

You Need To Hear This Senegalese Electronic Track

Senegalese duo Guiss Guiss Bou Bess mixes Sabar drums, Mbalax influences & electronic beats in "Jigueenu Africa."

Guiss Guiss Bou Bess is comprised of Mara Seck & Stéphane Costantini, a duo that blends electronic music with traditional Sabar percussion and Mbalax, Senegal's popular dance genre.

Their first music video for "Jigueenu Africa" "highlights Senegalese women and the magic they have when it comes to dancing Sabar," the band writes in a statement.

"Jigueenu Africa" hits you right away with its bouncing synthesizer bass line, handclaps and maze-like layers of Sabar drums. You'll have this one making rounds in your head for a minute.


The music video, directed by Benjamin Richard, is meant to be "a complete immersion in this universe made of spangles and drums in the heart of Medina, the oldest popular district in Dakar."

Their duo's goal with their music is to "preserve the cultural and identity & heritage from Senegal while making it accessible to any public. [They] wish to break down the barriers that Mbalax is facing on the international scene and make it understandable from a rhythmical side as well as from its identity."

Check out Guiss Guiss Bou Bess' "Jigueenu Africa" below.

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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