Blip Discs have released an enthralling collection of Islamic spirituals from Kampala, Uganda, performed and composed with the traditional mataali drum and vocal troupe Mubashira Mataali Group (pron: moo-ba-shee-ra).
The globetrotters at Blip Discs follow up their impressive label catalogue of forward thinking and genre fusing dance music with these songs composed for weddings, pilgrimages and worship. Although these themes may not immediately seem fitting with the label’s club-focused and dance-floor specific output, Tom Blip at the label assures us that these cuts will refreshingly surprise DJs and dancers alike. The work in Uganda follows funding being awarded in the UK for cultural exchange.
“I’ve played these out a few times and I never can quite believe what I’m seeing,” Tom says. “The reaction seems testament to the idea that we don’t have to keep on remixing and westernising contemporary African music in order to dance to it. This is Mubashira Mataali Group as we recorded them – with absolutely no electronic overdubs – just a few microphones, some drums and some vocals.”
Mataali is the music the people of Madinah celebrated to when the prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) arrived in their city in the 7th Century. It features spirited call-and-response vocals, visceral chanting and driving percussion. Mubashira Mataali Group is a troupe of 25 musicians led by Sulaiman ‘Sula’ Sulait, a film star-come-musician based in Kampala. The Blip Discs crew first saw the group at the capital’s Bayimba Festival – and inspired by their performance – promptly invited them to a recording session, which took place only a few hours later on the same day.
The fruit of Blip Discs’ musical labours in Uganda were recorded in 2016. World Treasures Music features four tracks from the EP. They are back-to-back during the latest show for KMAH Radio. Click below to listen, the tracks are at the 11 minute, 25 second mark and at the 1 hour, 31 minutes and 20 second mark.
Respect to all at Blip Discs for their work and courage in delivering this music to new audiences.