Hama is a Nigerian-based composer and this record genuinely sounds pretty fun. Apparently a mix of 90's synth-pop and 'traditional electronic desert folk', what couldn't be to love? I wasn't even aware that contemporary electronic desert folk was a thing, let alone traditional - we live and we learn. Houmeissa is available on Vinyl LP and CD, and released on Sahel Sounds.
Vinyl LP £20.99 SS049LP
LP on Sahel Sounds.
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- Houmeissa by Hama
In the last few years a number of records have made it over to old Norman Towers by artist that feature musicians using nothing more than a keyboard and its built in drum machine to create high energy takes to more traditional musics. I’m thinking of the likes of Omar Souleyman, Rizan Said (The King of Keyboard), and Islam Chipsy. Here’s another name for that list, Hama. The Nigerien keyboardist takes takes influence from West African wedding music and more, and with a synthesiser and a laptop, reinterprets them as slick, psychedelic instrumentals.
Houmeissa, his second release on Sahel Records and his first full length, is less danceable than his work on Torodi, and actually brings to mind the cosmic ambience coming out of Germany in the 70s like Tangerine Dream. Hama has layered reverb laden drums with fiddly synth patterns and dubbed out bass whooshes in a way that makes the music here sound familiar, even to someone like me who has not listened to much music from Niger. What distinguishes it then, is in how he draws from Nigerien traditions. The melodies and the scales that they’re built of are distinctly not German, nor indeed are the polyrhythms that are pervasive. The result is something that sounds like the soundtrack for a late 20th century sci-fi video-game. Indeed Hama is just as adept at imbuing his compositions with narrative as the likes of Nobuo Uematsu managed in his work on Chrono Trigger and the Final Fantasy series. This is best typified by the track ‘Touareg’, a track that’s pacey and exciting.
Even among his peers that have managed to find their way into our stockroom, Hama stands out for his skill in story telling, a skill that is often underrated among electronic producers.
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