German record label Analog Africa has compiled songs that made waves on the dance music scene in Somalia from 1972 to 1991.Oct 17th 2019 · 1 min read
The project, titled Mogadisco – Dancing Mogadishu (Somalia 1972-1991), will be released on 13 December and features 12 tracks chosen by label founder, DJ and producer Samy Ben Redjeb.
Redjeb travelled to Mogadishu, Somalia in November 2016 and found an uncovered and unmarked pile of cassettes and reel-to-reel tapes in the dusty archives of Radio Mogadishu. The pile included radio jingles, background music, interludes for radio programmes, television shows and theatre plays.
The compilation features musicians who played between 1972 and 1991 such as Dur-Dur Band, Omar Shooli, Mukhtar Ramadan Iidi, Bakaka Band, Fadumo Qassim & Shareero Band, Iftin Band and Shimaali & Killer.
“Mogadisco was not Analog Africa's easiest project,” Analog Africa says. “Tracking down the musicians – often in exile in the diaspora – to interview them and gather anecdotes of golden-era Mogadishu has been an undertaking that took three years.
“Tales of Dur-Dur Band's kidnapping, movie soundtracks recorded in the basements of hotels, musicians getting electrocuted on stage, others jumping from one band to another under dramatic circumstances, and soul singers competing against each other, are all stories included in the massive booklet that accompanies the compilation adorned with not less than 50 pictures from the '70s and '80s.”
According to Analog Africa, the late US pop singer Michael Jackson played a pivotal role on Somalia’s music scene from 1972 to 1991.
“Michael Jackson appeared with a new sound that would revolutionise Somalia's live music scene. You couldn't walk the streets of Mogadishu without seeing kids trying to moonwalk.”
Other foreign sounds at that time included Afrobeat, which was first introduced by the Iftin Band after their performance at the Festac Festival in Lagos, in 1977. Another vibrant sound during that period was reggae courtesy of the late Bob Marley.
You can pre-order and listen to Mogadisco – Dancing Mogadishu (Somalia 1972-1991) here.