For the past 15 years, the Tanzanian megalopolis of Dar Es Salaam has been home to one of the most exciting underground electronic music scenes in East Africa, and Sisso Records stands out as the city’s most prolific and creative studio. One of its long-time producers, Bampa Pana, appears at CTM 2018 together with MC Makaveli.
Producer Bampa Pana is from the Mburahati neighborhood of Dar Es Salaam. He first started producing about eight years ago, when he was in high school, and has worked with some of the best-known MCs in the Singeli underground, including Dogo Niga, Bwax, Dogo Suma. Makaveli is a veteran rapper and fellow Mburahati native.
Both artists are pioneers of Singeli, an up-tempo music genre combining defiant, satirical lyrics with frenetic productions whose raw, madcap energy borrows from Zanzibar’s Tarab music and South African Afro-house as well as noise, gabber, and happy hardcore. The MCs deliver frenzied chatter about the everyday challenges of teens and 20-somethings, from police corruption to dating while broke. Born in the sprawling working class Dar Es Salaam neighbourhoods of Tandale and Manzese, Singeli and other underground genres like Mchiriku, Sebene, and Segere have exploded into the mainstream and taken over Bongo Flava as the music of choice amongst Tanzania's youth. Whilst some Singeli artists have begun fusing their music with more traditional Tanzanian hip hop, the Sisso label has remained uncompromising and faithful to a ruff-edged, lightning-speed, punk/DIY Singeli aesthetic. A compilation of Sisso’s output was released this past year by celebrated Kampala-based newcomer label Nyege Nyege Tapes. Boomkat, who have the album on their Best of 2017 list, wrote that it “can’t help but make most other dance musics sound a bit pale and limp by comparison...totally unmissable!”