In 2007 John Beadle, a Milwaukee-based musicologist and owner of the much-loved Likembe blog, handed Samy a cassette that he himself had been given twenty years earlier by a Somalian student. After giving this cassette a listen, Analog Africa’s founder declared that this was “some of the deepest funk ever recorded” and from that moment on Samy dedicated many hours (and journeys) to tracking down the band responsible for this impressive music!
The group behind this superb afro-funk/soul sound is Somalian band Dur-Dur, a young outfit from the 80’s who fused together Funk, Reggae, Soul, Disco and New Wave along with Banaadiri beats, Daantho and spiritual Saar music. Founded in 1984 by keyboard player Isse Dahir Qassin, their fusions often incorporate traditional Somali melodies with dance rhythms; the origins of these eclectic blends hailing from all over the globe, from American funk and soul to Jamaican reggae. Dur-Dur’s ethics were simple, they wanted to create music that made people dance and by marrying the sounds of Funk, Reggae, Soul, Disco and New Wave, they created the perfect vibe to get people moving.
The band’s first two albums were released in 1986 and 1987, but have now been reissued via Analog Africa in a collection entitled Dur Dur of Somalia – Volume 1, Volume 2 & Previously Unreleased Tracks. Ohiyee opens the album with funky wah wah guitars, deep-groove bass lines and melodic synths, its composition pivoting on an addictive funk beat and loosely constructed, layered vocals. I’m pretty sure this will instill the need to groove and if it doesn’t, the funk will get you one way or another! Check it out above and listen/purchase the rest of the album from here.