Ostinato Records’ latest, Beja Power! by Noori & his Dorpa Band, is an unheard soundtrack of Sudan’s revolution set to be released on June 3rd via Bandcamp (all streaming platforms on June 24th). The music is the first ever global release of Beja sound, which is some of the oldest music on the planet still being played.
Noori, short for Noureddine Atta Al-Mawla Jabar, recorded the album with Ostinato Records in Port Sudan, which is at the heart of Beja culture. Nearly 30 years ago, Noori found the neck of a guitar in a scrap yard, which was a rare item at the time in Port Sudan. Noori decided to conduct an experiment and weld his discovery to a vintage tambour (or krar)–a four string instrument. And on that auspicious day, the first electrified tambo-guitar was born.
“A truly ancient community, Beja trace their ancestry back millennia,” writes Vik Sohonie, the founder of Ostinato Records and a coproducer of Beja Power! “Some say they are among the living descendants of Ancient Egypt and the Kingdom of Kush.”
“Beja melodies—nostalgic, hopeful and sweet, ambiguous and honest—are thousands of years old,” Sohonie continues. “The Beja community has been on the forefront of political change in Sudan for decades because successive Sudanese governments have turned a blind eye to their calls for recognition and access to the gold wealth of their own soil. Noori believes an unleashing of Beja music would form the most potent act of resistance in their quest for equity and justice.”
The first two singles off of Beja Power! are now streaming on all platforms.
Ostinato Records is not new to introducing groundbreaking music to the world. In 2017, Ostinato Records was nominated for a grammy for its Sweet as Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes from the Horn of Africa.