Sisso’s productions epitomize Singeli’s hyperlocal scenius, distilling the vitality and struggle of life of the fringes of the Swahili-speaking world’s most populous city, into a unique music which seems to reflect the idea of keeping a cool head in frenetic situations. Between his ratchet rhythms and pitched-up melodies there’s a sublime, unresolved tension at play, where the music feels to accelerate so fast that dancers are gliding, sustaining a breathlessly “up” effect that uncannily recalls mid ’90s UK happy hardcore as much as Chicago footwork, Caribbean Soca, and Shangaan disco, yet with a psychotomimetic appeal all of its own.
Born in the sprawling working class neighborhoods of Tandale and Manzese, Singeli’s signature sound consists of fast paced frantic loops interlocking with each other, with influences from Zanzibars Tarab music all the way to South African afro-house coupled with mc’s who often spit satirical lyrics about the challenges facing Tanzania’s youth, from police corruption to the complications of dating girls when you are broke. If there is one studio that stands out amongst the hundreds that dot Dar es Salaam’s musical landscape it is SISSO RECORDS. Centered around producers; Bwax, Sisso, Bampa Pana and Yung Keyz Morento and Mc’s Dogo Niga and Makavelli, they were early pioneers of the Singeli sound.