This compilation highlights the underground music of East Africa

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Nyege Nyege, a label from Kampala, Uganda, channels overwhelming confidence across an entire continent. Africa is no longer the future. For dance music, its time is now.

Music for eagles is a compilation released in conjunction with Soundcloud to showcase the best new acts East Africa has to offer outside the general public. A new wave of artists firmly releasing a non-conformist energy to make you spasm. Music that takes you on a journey. Otim alphaThe high BPM wedding frenzy of incessant hoarse vocals accompanied by a feverish violin will have you scratching the walls until you forget. Anti Vairas‘The dancehall of a battleship with super galactic intentions doesn’t even sweat because it ruins you. FLOThe Magnificent Call of the Sirens, is a capricious and out of tune rhyme that alludes to a desire for love but reveals something far more disturbing. Ecko BazzThe hard spiraling voice of over the sub-basses and the energy of the Devil’s Trap is an anthem that can only be lamented. And Kidane fighter‘s tune is more of a trance prayer. These are just a few of the highlights you can get away with.

We were able to chat with some of the artists featured on the Music for eagles compilation as they took a break in the studio below.


Ratigan era

Photo provided by Nyege Nyege / Soundcloud.

A rising star of the African Dancehall scene, Ratigan era‘S futuristic acidic dancehall threatens the walls of Babylon itself. “Gan Dem” underlines his enormous presence as a singer burning with the hand of Lithiumproduction violently sustained.

Your connection to Jamaica through your music is intense.

Since I was young, dancehall has been an inspiration. I have a very, very deep spiritual connection with Jamaica. I see everything that is happening in my life and in the lives of those in Jamaica in the same way. They are my brothers and sisters, my lineage, they are Africans. There are a lot of talented dancehall artists in Uganda, I work so hard to help me reach the world like them through all the hardships.

What do you think of the compilation?

I love it. It’s heavy water – it’s a black wave and I love the way people react to it. It is a matter of time for East Africa, time is moving and we must accept the future like everyone else. It is time to embrace it because changes will be happening across Africa.

When you were a child, what did you listen to with your family?

Dancehall, hip-hop, Enya

Enya? It’s crazy, was she fat?

(Laughs) Yes my boy. I would have to sleep, meditate, rest

Aunt Rayzor


Photo provided by Nyege Nyege / Soundcloud.

from Nigeria Bisola Olugbenga a.k.a aunt razor has been making music for years; known at home for its underground hits. “Tornado” grabs you by the neck. A fascinating and confident flex through the dynamic future of Afrobeat. Whether singing or rapping, Rayzor displays a devastating combination of sex and magic.

How did you come to make music on the other side of Africa?

People know me in Nigeria but I’m not the most famous celebrity. Working in Kampala was an opportunity to see things differently. I discovered new things about me through electronic music; I have to experiment. But it was more than music. I am a city girl and the nature there has inspired me.

How do you represent yourself on the track and what did people think of you?

Well rappers love to brag, I’m no different. I said a lot of nasty things too. I can’t translate this for you now (Laughs) I was really, really mean in the song but yeah, I experiment more with the beat than in real life … maybe. East Africans are very polite to Nigerians, that’s for sure. I was told that Nigerians do not have filters. It’s true, we are really straight. My attitude surprises people.

MC Yallah


Photo provided by Nyege Nyege / Soundcloud.

Yallah has been on the hip-hop scene for almost 20 years. Her lyrics forcefully address the issues of women across Africa. “No one seems to bother” with Lord Spikeheart Kenya’s bastard noise merchants Duma is by far the most disturbing of the whole compilation. Where the blood of black metal and hip-hop mix in a Juju ceremony.

How did you get to Uganda?

I was born in Kampala. My grandmother left Kenya with my mother in the 1970s to look for work. My mother was also fleeing domestic violence. I am one of the first female rappers but I was not recognized until now because I am not a commercial. I used to rap on old school American beats but with the guys from Nyege Nyege I’m challenged.

Your trail seems demonic. It is clear that the Duma has left its mark.

Most of my music is conscious and gospel. It sounds demonic because this is the system that doesn’t take care of those in it. We empower politicians, but they don’t keep the promises they made. Getting away from the system causes us to kill each other. Lord Spikeheart captures this. And me, my flow is crazy. I’m dope.

Afrorack


Photo provided by Nyege Nyege / Soundcloud.

Brian Bamanya a.k.a Afrorack builds DIY modular synths in Kampala, creating their own unique instruments. His track “Trance” has the slow, curving sine wave patterns and oscillating frequencies that reflect the heady warmth of an artist safe in his own world.

When did your love for analog synths begin?

I was a kid who loved to fix things. I was opening things up just to figure out how it worked. This fascination with electronics led me to read books on transistors and resistors so that I could basically understand how they all work together. It existed alongside my love for music, so I combined the two, naturally orienting myself towards synthesizers.

Why is the East African music scene exploding right now?

Experimentation makes young people more confident than ever. Punk and electronic music had their scenes here, but now there is enough platform to support them boldly. We didn’t have the pioneers, like the West Africans in the 1970s and 1980s, until now. What prompted me to really do my thing was that there weren’t a lot of people doing electronic circuit sounds – everyone around me was using Ableton and Fruity Loops.

You live in a time when serious foundations are being built for the future, right?

The compilation gives a picture of what is going on here. We deserve attention and it gives a perspective on our future. Young East Africans are playing for the first time around the world. As for the DIY modular bedroom scene, you can get a working model setup that doesn’t cost thousands and can be built inexpensively from scratch. This is what makes it punk and so much more interesting than buying an expensive old synth. The unknown and the new are here. Africa is so diverse. If you factor in the number of tribes and clans with their own musical history and combine it with electronic experimentation, well … that’s exciting isn’t it?


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