"Sounds from across Somalia — the banadaari beats of the south, the reggae-like daantho of the north — jostled with wah-wah guitars and a psychedelic synthesiser, whose horn-stab effects only made the absence of brass more obvious. No matter. This was Somalia in party mode: proud, cultivated, joyful." Evening Standard
At the beginning of the 1990s, the glamorous discos and beachfront stages of Mogadishu disappeared as the city was bombed to the ground during the Civil War. Somalia’s musical stars went into exile throughout the globe. Many ended up in London, now home to the largest Somali diaspora in Europe. That is where Dur-Dur Band International, a powerhouse of Somali live music, was founded and remains based today.
Back in March 2019, just ahead of what will be a jubilant performance at the HKW, the musicians head into a studio in Neukölln fuelled with a restored sense of pride to record new music. They call it ‘The Berlin Session’, the first studio album by a complete ensemble from Somali a since the golden era of Mogadishu came to a halt three decades ago.
The music itself reflects the broad culture of its homeland, feeling perhaps equally Asian as it does African. A seafaring passage to the Silk Road, Somalia’s richness had long mirrored the incredible span of its trade-absorbing immigrants and instruments from throughout Southeast Asia, India, Persia, Europe and the Arabian Peninsula.
AGENT: Polly Miles