I have just stumbled upon this track and sat through the 8:15 minutes of it thoroughly transfixed.. Rhythmically its a dream, a dream that sends you into a trance with mesmerising percussion and melodic call and response vocals..
The talent of Sudanese artist Abu Obaida Hassan has been described as mercurial! With swirling melodies constructed from a modified tambour, two drummers and backing vocalists, his complex Nubian rhythms are hypnotic! Active between the 1970’s and 80’s, Abu Obaida Hassan’s band roster frequently changed, but he remained the one constant throughout and repeatedly played for sold out shows in cities across the country, capturing a large following wherever he performed.
New York’s Ostinato Records are next month releasing a compilation album of Abu Obaida’s recordings entitled, Abu Obaida Hassan & His Tambour: The Shaigiya Sound of Sudan. The Ostinato team first came across Abu Obaida’s recordings in 2011, finding scratchy bits and pieces along the years before travelling to Sudan in 2016 to find the clues to piece together the Abu Obaida Hassan puzzle. On their bandcamp page the label describes what their travels to Sudan unravelled, explaining how,” some extensive detective work with our man in Khartoum, Ahmed Asyouti, and a generous dose of good fortune, we tracked Abu Obaida to the rural outskirts of Omdurman, the old capital just across the White Nile from Khartoum. Age has taken its toll, but he remains full of life and music, ready to jointly curate a selection of his eight best cuts. He has written over 100 songs, only 30 were recorded.”
Abu Obaida’s distinct sound can only be found in Sudan and when Ostinato Records first heard his music 7 years ago, I wonder if they ever dreamed they would actually track him down?! This journey has produced the first global release of Shaigiya music and Abu Obaida Hassan & His Tambour: The Shaigiya Sound of Sudan will be available in all of its unique glory when it releases on the 18th May! Today’s song is one of two tracks that are available ahead of this release and, translated into Moon of the Night, Qamar Al Massa is a truly captivating listen… Check it out above and pre-order the album from here.
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