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You Need to Hear This New 'Import-Export Mogadishu' Mixtape

A new mixtape of rare synthesizer, drum machine and laptop music from 1990s & 2000s Somalia.

Vik Sohonie, founder of Ostinato Records, tells us about his new upcoming compilation, Sweet As Broken Dates Chapter 2, and shares a new mixtape.

In 2017, Sweet As Broken Dates, our Grammy-nominated compilation of stellar Somali music from before the country's civil war was released. The songs revived heartwarming memories of a lavish Mogadishu and Hargeisa not known too many non-Somalis, and in many ways allowed the Somali diaspora to reconnect with a time and place ransacked by the wicked fates of history.

All our due diligence and research led us to believe that some of finest music ever made firmly stopped when the war started. Hibo Nuura's song on the compilation, "If the Artist Lets You Down," added to this perception, as the widely respected Nuura chastised her fellow musicians for what she saw as a failure of their responsibility to keep the country's rich music culture alive amid tragedy.

But we were wrong. The music did not stop. Both famous and obscure Somali musicians quietly kept their culture alive in the 1990s and 2000s on drum machines, synthesizers, and laptops. The Somali pentatonic sound melded perfectly with new digital equipment, almost exhibiting an even more authentic sound as analog western instrumentation vacated the repertoire. Most of these recordings were kept private or shared in small circles, never reaching the same audiences in luxurious venues as the music of the 70s and 80s.


This is Chapter 2 in the Somali music story, not Vol. 2.

At Ostinato Records, we want to reimagine the sequel for music compilations. Too often, "Vol. 2" is filled with the choice cuts that simply did not qualify for the first volume. As storytellers and image-makers, this approach needs a rethink. We have a responsibility to carry the story forward, to not simply rehash what has already been available, and to give agency to the recent past rather than constantly hark back to the 70s and 80s.

"Import/Export Mogadishu" is the side A of a mixtape to announce that we are deeply immersed in producing, Sweet As Broken Dates Chapter 2, and to give fans who relished the first compilation a sneak peak into the direction we're headed. Side B of the mixtape will be an insight into Chapter 3.

The selection begins with a slow-burning groover by the lively Xabib Shaarabi, a key Somali music figure in the 1990s whose digital disco style was celebrated in a short but viral documentary by The Guardian. We are also proud to announce that Xabib Shaarabi along with lifetime achievement award winner, Cabdinuur Alale, will be performing in Berlin on March 23 as part of the Find the File Festival.

These are the next stages in the Somali music revival: the advancement of a story with endless chapters and the resurrection of former greats and live bands, reunited to showcase what no war could vanquish: the resilience and adaptability of the Somali experience.

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Adamawa State Governor Bindow and the 21 freed girls (c) Adam Dobby

Isha Sesay’s Bold New Book Forces Us to Remember the Chibok Girls, Even If Social Media Has Forgotten

In 'Beneath the Tamarind Tree' the Sierra-Leonean author offers "the first definitive account" of what took place on the ground following the girls' abduction.

Five years ago, 276 schoolgirls were abducted from their school in northern Nigeria by a group of Boko Haram militants. A global outcry ensued with social media and the international press proclaiming their devotion to the missing girls. #BringBackOurGirls became the digital rallying cry for the movement. Even the most famous of public figures—the likes of then First Lady Michelle Obama—stood behind it. This level of attention was unique, and frankly rare for a tragedy occurring in Africa, and it seemed that the help of the entire world was exactly what was needed to topple the threat of growing extremism in Northern Nigeria, and bring the girls home safely.

Then, the world moved on—with the exception of a few. Sierra Leonean-born journalist Isha Sesay, the host of CNN Africa at the time, was one of the foremost voices covering the events taking place in Chibok, following and reporting on every painstaking detail about the girls and their possible whereabouts, even earning the network a Peabody Award in 2014 for her coverage. Her commitment to their story didn't wane—even when it was clear that the news cycle had moved on. For Sesay, the threat of erasure was further motivation to continue following the girls' story. As new developments occurred, beginning in 2016, Sesay hit the ground. She traveled to Chibok and followed those who'd been freed, while continuing to advocate for the immediate release of the 112 girls who are still missing.

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Watch the Trailer for Wale's New Studio Album 'Wow...That's Crazy'

He says this sixth studio album will be his last.

This year has been a phenomenal year for Nigerian artists both on the continent and those part of the diaspora. Nigerian-American rapper, Wale, recently took to social media to announce that he'll be dropping his sixth studio album Wow...That's Crazy on the October 11th. This new project comes after he released three singles this year including "Gemini (2 sides)", "BGM" and "On Chill", a track he worked on with Jeremih. While fans are excited by news of the upcoming project, Wale has indicated that this will be his last album.

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Watch the Music Video for Stonebwoy and 'Ololo' Featuring Teni

A fire collaboration!

Ghanaian rapper Stonebwoy enlists Nigerian artist Teni the Entertainer for his latest single 'Ololo,' his latest since dropping "Tuff Seed" earlier this summer.

The duo shine as they exchange loving lyrics atop sultry, upbeat production by Prinx Pappi. Stonebwoy opens the track with a fiery verse about giving his all to a love interest, while Teni brings the her usual high-energy to the second verse as she delivers passionate lyrics directed at a lover. Their musical chemistry, making for a catchy jam-worthy track.

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Seyi Shay & Teyana Taylor Connect For 'Gimme Love' Remix

An afrobeats-inspired take on R&B.

Seyi Shay comes through with the new remix of "Gimme Love" featuring none-other-than Teyana Taylor.

The new remix sees the Nigerian singer linking up with the GOOD Music star for an afrobeats-inspired take on R&B, as the two artists trade romantic verses over the Sarz-produced beat.

The new music video for "Gimme Love Remix," follows Seyi Shay and Teyana Taylor to Harlem, New York. They head to brownstone homes, bodegas and bars as they get courted by their 'love.' It was directed by Walu and produced by JM Films.

"Gimme Love" is the lead single from Seyi Shay's upcoming EP, which was executive produced by Sarz and Harmony Samuels, and is due in November.

Watch the video for "Gimme Love Remix" below. The single is available everywhere now.

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