Nihiloxica: A Darker Take on Traditional Bugandan Drumming
The Buganda, Uganda’s largest ethnic group, hold the drum in highest regards. The instrument is used in ceremonies, for dance, and is played when a child is born and when anyone dies. The Kabaka’s (king’s) drums are considered holy. Each clan has its own drum rhythm. And when women were allowed to play drums, it was a sign of their new power over the strict patriarchy.
The music of Nihiloxica is a celebration of drumming’s special place in Uganda, still ever so present. However, the added synth does indeed make the music “darker” and brings the Buganda appreciation into the 21st century.
“A darker take on traditional Bugandan drumming. Comprised of seven percussionists, one kit drummer combined with an analog synth player. Recorded live in single takes at Boutiq Studios in Kampala, Uganda between the 26th and 29th of August 2017.”
Auntie Flo: for fans of Four Tet and Gorillaz
Auntie Flo is Brian d’Souza, a UK artist who’s been praised by The Guardian for his insightful and educational fusion of electronic and world influences. Check out his diverse body of work here.
I had never heard d’Souza’s music before, but after hearing “The Soniferous Garden,” it feels like I’ve been waiting for this kind of mixture ever since this website began – something that immediately hits you but then reveals more texture and color on repeated listens.
“Produced and arranged over an intense, collaborative two day session at the Santuri studio as part of the Ugandan Bayimba arts festival in Kampala in September 2015, the project draws on Senegalese Sabar drumming, the plaintive notes of the Adungu (a Ugandan 10 string harp) and the vocals of Gio Kiyingi, underpinned by d’Souza’s arrangements and drum programming for two tracks clocking in at a healthy quarter of an hour each.
The title ‘The Soniferous Garden’ is taken from the writings of Canadian composer and environmentalist R Murray Schafer, a concept he defines as ‘a garden or place of acoustic delights’ – an aural space of retreat from the oppressive overabundance of acoustic information that characterizes the modern industrial world.
The two compositions are a response to this idea – drawing the listener into meandering, ever-evolving themes that weave in and out of a rhythmic base that is equal parts traditional percussion and electronic production.
The title track showcases the virtuoso Adungu playing of erstwhile Burnt Friedman collaborator Hakim Kiwanuka, and vocals from regular Highlife World Series contributor Giovanni Kremer Kiyingi whilst Rainfall on red earth (inspired by the vivid colours of the landscape around the studio) pushes the talking drum of Mama N’Dieck Seck Thiam to the fore.”