Music
Photo: Janto Djassi.

This Album Is a Soundtrack of Sudan’s Revolution

Dive into Noori & His Dorpa Band's Beja Power! Electric Soul & Brass from Sudan's Red Sea Coast.

In late 2021, Ostinato Records returned to Khartoum, Sudan shortly after a November military coup and country-wide protests to capture the sound of an ongoing, inspiring democratic revolution that began in 2019.

Scrolling Sudanese TikTok, we scouted a mysterious band in Port Sudan, a city on the Red Sea coast and the country’s biggest port. One short social media video opened the gates into a world few have ventured, let alone heard, a world that reorients our understanding of ancient history and politically empowers the present.

In the early 1990s, a young musician named Noori ventured near the scrap yards of Port Sudan only to find the well-preserved neck of a guitar, an uncommon instrument in these parts. He was later gifted a vintage tambour from the ‘70s, a traditional four-string instrument strummed across the region, by his father, a renowned instrumentalist. Using his own special technique of welding and tuning, Noori forged the two and gave birth to an electrified tambo-guitar, the only hybrid of its kind in existence.

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Music
Photo: Janto Djassi.

The Acoustic Cabo Verdean Sounds of The Ano Nobo Quartet

The Strings of São Domingos offers a a global story with Cabo Verde at its center—a creole melting pot in the middle of the Atlantic attracting the best from four continents.

Vik Sohonie, founder of Ostinato Records, gives us some background on his upcoming release 'The Strings of São Domingos' by The Ano Nobo Quartet.

In 1989, as the Berlin Wall collapsed in front of the world’s eyes, a burly soldier from Cabo Verde stood on the East German side. Nicknamed “El Bruto” or “The Brute” because of his “brutally” good prowess on the guitar, Pascoal watched the end of an era in full uniform, the ever dutiful soldier. As a member of the FARP, the armed wing of Cabo Verde’s independence struggle, which was backed by the Soviet Union, Pascoal was dispatched the world over—from Cuba to Crimea to East Berlin.

Being stationed in Cuba gave him access to a world of guitar music. His stints in the Caribbean and the Crimean Peninsula were alongside soldiers from elsewhere in Lusophone Africa and the former colonized world. Not required on the battlefield, these military postings became cultural gatherings and, quite simply, jam sessions, where sounds and techniques were exchanged.

Today, along with fellow guitar maestros, Fany, Nono, and Afrikanu, Pascoal leads The Ano Nobo Quartet, named after Cabo Verde’s most legendary composer, Ano Nobo, Pascoal’s mentor and father to the rest of the group. Until today, Ano Nobo’s face graces murals across the archipelago.

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10 Songs That Tell the Story of Ethiopian Music

Featuring tracks from Aster Aweke, Mulatu Astatke, Alèmayèhu Eshèté, Seyfou Yohannes, Hailu Mergia and more.

The Sounds of Somali Supergroup 4 Mars

A seminal anthology of 4 Mars, a 40-member Somali supergroup formed in 1977, is coming out via Ostinato Records.

Groupe RTD: The Dancing Devils of Djibouti

Ostinato Records presents what they call "the first ever international album to emerge from Djibouti" from Groupe RTD, one of East Africa's best kept secrets.

The Funána Revolt in 1990s Cabo Verde

In 1997, an "earthquake shook [Cabo Verde]," as a national newspaper wrote, when a group of youths calling themselves Ferro Gaita "dared to make a disc based on the gaita, ferrinho and bass guitar."

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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.