The East-African music label dives deeper in the Tanzanian music phenomenon, after their revolutionary Sounds of Sisso (2017) which took festivals around the world by storm.
The Sounds of Sisso compilation focused mostly on the Tanzanian capital’s Sisso Studios and its wide influence on singeli, the breakneck dance strain that’s quickly moved from Dar es Salaam throughout the world. For their second genre-focused project, Nyege Nyege Tapes highlights recordings from Duke’s Pamoja Records. And while its predecessor brought attention to the producers, Sounds of Pamoja showcases the wide variety of MC talent under the Pamoja Records umbrella, with production mostly handled by Duke. The music is fresh and unpredictable, switching beats every few bars and rattling through hyper-local dance styles with jagged, joyful ease. But it’s the MCs that push Sounds of Pamoja to the next level, capitalizing on the vitality of Dar es Salaam’s musical landscape as they trade bars, switch flows and somehow keep up with Duke’s lightning-fast productions. MC Kono’s performance on the track “Il Jini Song Wapi”, already available, is a perfect example of the hyper-dynamic and exuberant youth the project will showcase.
Tanzania is a country of young people – almost half of its population is under 15 years old – and singeli is a young genre. Duke started making music when he was 13 years old, and by the time he was 18 he had opened the Pamoja Records studio. He’s joined on the compilation by a talented group of emerging local artists: 20 year old Pirato MC, 19 year old Dogo Kibo, 20 year old MC Kuke, Dogo Lizzy, MC Dinho, MC Kidene and MCZO, the versatile rapper who accompanied Duke on a selection of global tour dates. This fresh and energized cast brings a new kind of electricity to this breath-taking dance music, characterized by rapid body movement, social combustion and tongue-twisting lyrical one-upmanship guiding the rudder. To capture and portray this unique musical world, NTS traveled down to Tanzania to meet the founders of Pamoja and Sisso Records, alongside artists and managers from the scene. The result of these encounters is a mini-documentary, which gives a preview to what Sounds of Pamoja will sound like.
Sounds of Pamoja is due out on 2xLP and digital on Nyege Nyege Tapes on September 17, 2021.