For the past 15 years the Tanzanian megalopolis of Dar Es Salaam has had one of the most exciting underground electronic music scenes in East Africa. A constellation of micro-scenes from Mchiriku, Sebene and Segere all the way to its latest mutation of Singeli that finally after years of lurking in the underground has exploded into the mainstream and taken over Bongo Flava as the music of choice amongst Tanzania’s youth. Born in the sprawling working class neighborhoods of Tandale and Manzese, Singeli’s signature sound consists of fast paced frantic loops interlocking with each other, with influences from Zanzibars Tarab music all the way to South African afro-house coupled with mc’s who often spit satirical lyrics about the challenges facing Tanzania’s youth, from police corruption to the complications of dating girls when you are broke.
If there is one studio that stands out amongst the hundreds that dot Dar es Salaam’s musical landscape it is SISSO RECORDS. Centered around producers; Bwax, Sisso, Bampa Pana and Yung Keyz Morento and Mc’s Dogo Niga and Makavelli, they were early pioneers of the Singeli sound. Whilst some Singeli artists have begun fusing their music with more traditional Tanzanian hip hop, Sisso have remained uncompromising in their sound, always raw, fast with a punk DIY aesthetic that can at times verge on Noise and Gabber, to produce a spell binding music that is like no other Sound System culture in the region.