A stunning collision of Indian Bollywood, Jamaican dub and reggae, sleek horns inspired by Harlem's jazz era, and the haunting and joyous synthesizer melodies of the Red Sea by Groupe RTD, the national radio band of Djibouti and one of East Africa's best-kept secrets.
Helmed by Mohamed Abdi Alto, possibly the most unheralded saxophone virtuoso in all of Africa, and mentored by guitarist Abdirazak Hagi Sufi -- both of whom feature as instrumentalists on our Grammy-nominated compilation Sweet As Broken Dates -- Groupe RTD is the finest expression of Djibouti's cosmopolitan music style.
Alto honed his trade from a steady diet of John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. Abdirazak's guitar style draws heavily from his love affair with Jamaican music. Young singers Asma Omar and Hassan Omar Houssein are fluent in the classic hits of Bollywood and Indian music. Synth player Moussa Aden Ainan brings a distinctly dexterous Somali touch, reminiscent of the exceptional keys work of Somalia's Iftin and Waaberi Band. Their sound is kept afloat by measured Tadjouran rhythms, courtesy of drummer Omar Farah Houssein and dumbek player Salem Mohamed Ahmed's perfect interplay.
Recorded in three days -- as per the strict limit set by Djibouti's national radio authorities -- with a state-of-the-art mobile recording studio replete with the very best audio interfaces and carefully positioned microphones around a less than soundproof room to achieve a vibrant, professional sound while maintaining the analogue warmth of decades prior.