The Dancing Devils of Djibouti



Cat. Number: OSTLP009


In stock (can be backordered)

The first ever international album from the Republic of Djibouti and Ostinato’s first studio recorded album. While the music of Somalia is widely celebrated, its neighbor, Djibouti, formerly known as French Somaliland, is home to an equally deep reservoir of its own unique Somali music.

In stock (can be backordered)

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Product Description

A stunning collision of Indian Bollywood, Jamaican dub and reggae, sleek horns inspired by Harlem’s jazz era, and the haunting and joyous synthesizer melodies of the Red Sea by Groupe RTD, the national radio band of Djibouti and one of East Africa’s best kept secrets.

Helmed by Mohamed Abdi Alto, possibly the most unheralded saxophone virtuoso in all of Africa, and mentored by guitarist Abdirazak Hagi Sufi — both of whom feature as instrumentalists on our Grammy-nominated compilation Sweet As Broken Dates — Groupe RTD is the finest expression of Djibouti’s cosmopolitan music style.

Alto honed his trade from a steady diet of John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. Abdirazak’s guitar style draws heavily from his love affair with Jamaican music. Young singers Asma Omar and Hassan Omar Houssein are fluent in the classic hits of Bollywood and Indian music. Synth player Moussa Aden Ainan brings a distinctly dexterous Somali touch, reminiscent of the exceptional keys work of Somalia’s Iftin and Waaberi Band. Their sound is kept afloat by measured Tadjouran rhythms, courtesy of drummer Omar Farah Houssein and dumbek player Salem Mohamed Ahmed’s perfect interplay.

Recorded in three days — as per the strict limit set by Djibouti’s national radio authorities — with a state-of-the-art mobile recording studio replete with the very best audio interfaces and carefully positioned microphones around a less than soundproof room to achieve a vibrant, professional sound while maintaining the analog warmth of decades prior.

Double vinyl pressed at 45 RPM, housed in a gatefold sleeve.

1. Asma Omar - Buuraha U Dheer (The Highest Mountains)
2. Asma Omar - Raga Kaan Ka’Eegtow (You Are the One I Love)
3. Guessod Abdo Hamargod - Kuusha Caarey (The Pearl Necklace)
4. Hassan Omar Houssein - Raani (Queen)
5. Alto's Interlude
6. Hassan Omar Houssein - Uurkan Kaadonaya (I Want You)
7. Hassan Omar Houssein - Halkaasad Dhigi Magtiisa (That’s Where You’ll Leave His Reward)
8. Guessod Abdo Hamargod - Iiso Daymo (Look at Me)
9. Hassan Omar Houssein - Suuban (Joy)
10. Danse Traditionnelle - Wiil Wille (The Jumping Man)

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