Various Artists – Mogadisco – Dancing Mogadishu 1972 -1991
Analog Africa (label)
13 December 2019 (released)
I am an unashamed fan of the Analog Africa label, their releases are never less than ‘interesting’ but the music of Somalia is something I’ve never really considered.
This release is artfully titled ‘Mogadisco’ and it does definitely capture the music that is at the heart of most of the music here – good old Funk. Influenced variously by the Disco and Funk greats such as James Brown, Funkadelic, Stevie Wonder etc as well as a huge hint of Bob Marley, the music carries you onto imaginary dancefloors.
I never cease to be amazed at the originality of the music on the various releases, every country seems to have its own sound, but Mogadishu seems to have presented a greater difference to the western music by overlaying the Funk & Disco rhythms with vocals that are distinctly of the region. When the reggae sounds of Marley invaded in 1977 the result is even more unique to Somalia.
The difficulties involved in collating this set of tracks is brilliantly captured on the accompanying booklet to the album – this was not an easy project.
What has come out of it is a dozen tracks of different styles and varying recording quality but all of which had me strutting my disco. The bass lines are profound and keyboards proliferate. As with the western music of the time, percussion is light and tight but the vocals are what really identifies the different bands and place the music in location and time.
This is a great way to spend an evening and a few of these tracks should break out to form the heart of any decent dance mix. Top stuff.