Tag Archives: sahara

don’t silence your cellphones.





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Music from Saharan Cellphones: Volume 2 is finally on vinyl! The album draws from material from both of the first two cassettes – from hi-energy Moroccan Raï, desert ishumar guitar, Sonrai rap from Northern Mali, to yet to be named genres like “Tuareg Autotune”. Production of the release was an effort in itself, involving tracking down the artists via Facebook, Youtube, and trips back to the Sahel (see previously), followed by a kickstarter campaign to fund manufacturing costs.

The music on the disc was originally collected in Kidal in 2010, tunes circulating on the unofficial “cellphone network” of Bluetooth exchanges and mp3 trades. Since then, many speculated that internet would wash over the desert rendering the peer to peer transfers of cellphone exchanges inútil. Instead, a more sinister force of religious of extremists have spelled an end to cellphone music – banning any non-Koranic mp3s on cellphones. Northerners are holding their breath waiting for the sandstorm to pass.

In the meantime, and with a big F-U to the extremists up North, we’re celebrating Saharan Cellphone music with two LP release parties. First, in Portland, Oregon this Saturday, Jan. 5th @ Sengatera Ethiopian Restaurant – joining forces with the super-team of Gulls, E3, and Monkeytek. Then, next week on Jan. 10th, Sahel Sounds will be in Los Angeles at Ooga Booga, with an armful of records and a dj set!

Portland Release Party, Jan. 5th @ Sengatera

Los Angeles Release, Jan. 10th @ Ooga Booga

Though the record wont be dropping until this weekend, you can buy the vinyl direct from me via Paypal, here! Selling for low price of $12 (for stores looking for multiple copies, check your favorite distro). Digital downloads are available at bandcamp.





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Kickstarting

Last year, we rolled out Music from Saharan Cellphones, a vinyl compilation of popular music circulating on the unofficial cellphone music exchange networks of West Africa. In the preceding years, I’ve located more artists via internet tools like Facebook profile searches and Youtube comments, as well as my travels back to West Africa (where I met Ami Wassidje, Pheno S., Mouma Bob, and Mdou Moctar). The kickstarter is now underway, with competitively priced pre-orders on the vinyl ($15 w/shipping) as well as some new reward levels (like a cellphone from the Sahara loaded with mp3s or a MicroSD card release). Expected release date is around November.

vinyl of saharan cellphones

The official release of “Music from Saharan Cellphones” is now complete! The compilation showcases some of the popular music circulating around the desert: DIY Tuareg Autoune, Balani Show street music, and Ivorian Coupé Décalé. (previously)

The LP is a selection of tracks from the first two cassettes. Available now on 2,000 vinyl copies at your nearest record shop or via download on bandcamp (download is available for $3 — 60% of the proceeds go to the artist involved, pay as much as you want, sliding scale option!)

Download at Bandcamp

Order the LP

kickstarters for vinyl of music from saharan cellphones

The new proverb says “all roads lead to Kickstarter,” and I’ve joined the fray in this latest push — to bring “Music from Saharan Cellphones” to a vinyl.

In a rather ironic twist the musicians whose sounds were found on communication devices are incredibly difficult to locate. Google search algorithms notwithstanding, the network of cellphones and music trading and even communication exists fiercely independent of the global internet network. The project has been an exercise in Sisyphean patience, flinging messages out in bottles every few months or so: Facebook queries to whomever lives in the composer’s city, Skype out calls to numbers in blurry CD scans across six or seven countries, Youtube comments on every video containing a fragment of a song, and finally a few face to face meetings in Bamako with a handful of Mali’s stars (I regrettably had to give up on Cheba Wasila when every phone number for her studio listed seemed to be answered by confused Moroccan grandmothers).

But enough of the past. I’ve got a crew of artists and their songs together, and we’re making a record. The vinyl will be an amalgam of the first two cassette volumes, remastered, accompanied by liner notes with a short bio of all the artists. It’s an initial run of 2,000 copies — also to be available on bandcamp. The kickstarter is clear and simple — pre-orders of the vinyl available at $15 shipping included, to be wrapping up around end of October. Inchallah.

Music from Saharan Cellphones Vol. 1

Music from Saharan Cellphones Vol. 2