Boomkat Product Review:
Blazing début of hyper dance music from Tanzania by Bamba Pana, the first in a series of albums highlighting producers from the Sisso studio. Grimy hard dance from Dar Es Salaam deployed at 150bpm+, a huge recommendation if yr into Shangaan Electro, Príncipe, Nkisi - the most exhilirating dance music you’ll hear in 2018.
Jumanne Ramadhani Zegge a.k.a. Bamba Pana is one of the core producers, alongside Jay Mitta, of the Sisso studio - a central hub for MCs and producers in the Mburahati ghetto on the outskirts of Dar Es Salaam. Along with his peers, Bamba uses a laptop and software to update the local, usually acoustic and instrumental style of Singeli, computerizing its hyper rhythms and zinging melodies for the needs of younger crowds in an upfront, direct way that has translated far beyond its East African roots, as anyone who witnessed the Sounds of Sisso tour or heard the acclaimed compilation will surely attest.
As a début album statement, ’Poaa’ could hardly be more distinguished. Perhaps best compared with the urgent tempi and quicksilver syncopation of Shangaan Electro or Angolan Kuduro to outsiders, it’s effectively a form of Tanzanian grime or hard dance music, using rapid-fire, hypnotic rhythmelodies to drive crowds to dance in thrilling, new ways.
Bar one killer cut, ‘Linga Linga’ featuring the distinctive bark of Bamba Pana’s long-time vocal foil, MC Makavelli, the set is entirely instrumental with voices used only as strobing rhythmic filaments. The other eight tracks range from an “introduction to brand new dance from Africa” in ‘Agaba Kibati’, to what sounds like turbo speed Makina in ‘Biti Three’, whereas ‘Baria’ hops from shredding synths to hyper coloured percussion in wild style.
Meanwhile ‘Biti Six’ features some of the set’s giddiest harmonies, spiralling so fast they evoke weightlessness, while ‘Kusini’ is patently compatible with the ruffest P. Adrix riddims for Príncipe, and the incendiary ‘Pooa Bama Rmx’ provides a breathless 145bpm race to the finish that feels twice as fast, thanks to its inimitable, needlepoint percolations.