Mogadishu, Somalia 1986. Here, among the bars and the record stores of the feverish Via Roma neighbourhood, sprang the unique sound of Dur-Dur Band. In a few months, they would experience a meteoric rise to become the most popular Somali musical export.
Theirs is a sound that was dynamic and avant-garde, rewriting the traditional Somali rhythms of Banaadiri, Dhaanto and the Saar spiritual movement by fusing them with a tidal wave of funk, disco, soul, reggae and new wave influences that were reaching the city through the American soldiers who disembarked to support the Communist president, Siad Barre. Samy Ben Redjeb—the founder of Analog Africa—became enraptured by compelling stories and by his own field investigations of the region and its culture, spurning a research project in 2016 that drew together interviews and period documents. His findings act as an informative booklet that accompanies the double album.
From “Yabaal”, a delightfully funky single with Bollywood infusions, to the reggae skanks of “Dinleeya”, the Dur-Dur of Somalia compilation unveils an explosive cocktail of past hits as well as unreleased tracks that reveal golden musical moments before the band separated. In 1991, Somalia was thrown into civil war, forcing the band’s members into exile, signalling the end of their adventure.
Dur-Dur Band — Dur Dur of Somalia volumes 1 & 2 (Analog Africa)