Grammy-nominated Ostinato Records presents "Abu Obaida Hassan & His Tambour: The Shaigiya Sound of Sudan" in a gatefold LP packaging with vintage photos and authentic Sudanese designs. A complex blend of Arab melodies, Nubian rhythms, and signature Sudanese call and response by a legend of Shaigiya music from nothern Sudan.
Abu Obaida Hassan and the wonders of his five-string tambour remained largely a mystery. In the early 2000s, a prominent Sudanese newspaper declared him dead. Internet forums confirmed his passing. Many in Khartoum, Sudan's capital, said he had indeed died. But rumors that he was still alive persisted.
What was always certain is Abu Obaida Hassan's mercurial talent. His command of a modified tambour, backed by a chorus and two drummers, unleashed swirling melodies alongside complex Nubian rhythms and hypnotic Sudanese call and response. His bands roster constantly changed, but he remained at the helm, playing for sold out shows in cities across the country and capturing the dancefloors and youth of 1970s and '80s Sudan.
This is a rich, raw example of the human experience with sound from northern Sudan, an ancient part of the world, and the birthplace of civilization. Music like this isn't mastered overnight.
The Ostinato team first came across Abu Obaida's recordings in 2011, finding scratchy bits and pieces along the years. We traveled to Sudan in 2016 to find the clues to piece together the Abu Obaida Hassan puzzle. Through some extensive detective work with our man in Khartoum, Ahmed Asysouti, and a generous dose of good fortune, we tracked Abu Obaida to the rural outskirts of Omdurman, the old capital just across the White Nile from Khartoum. Age has taken its toll, but he remains full of life and music, ready to jointly curate a selection of his eight best cuts. He has written over 100 songs, only 30 were recorded.