Music Reviews
4 Mars

4 Mars

Super Somali Sounds From the Gulf of Tadjoura

Ostinato Records

Super Sounds from the Gulf of Tadjoura continues Ostinato Records excavation of the treasure trove of recordings held by Radiodiffision-Telecion de Djbouti. The national radio station has amassed an amazing archive of recordings from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritria and of course, Djbouti itself. These recordings have been off limits to foreigners for decades. Working with the archivists, Ostinato is helping to preserve this amazing resource and make select recordings available to the rest of the world.

4 Mars takes their name from the 4th of March, the founding date of The People’s Rally for Progress, the political party that’s ruled Djbouti since independence. 4 Mars was a vital part of the early, post independence era. The band helped a fledgling country come together around a shared sonic identity. The songs on this compilation reflect the optimism and hope of a brand new country. Song titles like “Gratitude,” “Compassion” and “Hello, Peace!” reflect the optimism of the newly free.

Djbouti has been a crossroad country for centuries. Traders from across Africa, the Middle East, India, China and beyond have been meeting to do business here. The music of 4 Mars reflects that market town history. The band incorporate bits of Ethiopian funk, reggae grooves, Turkish harmonies, American jazz and Bollywood bravado. 4 Mars project a musical mirage of how a regions united by song and dance might exist.

Today, Djbouti sits in an unstable corner of the world. Somalia is a failed state, Ethiopia and Eratria continue to threaten to fall back into civil war and Sudan is Sudan. The music made by 4 Mars are a specter from a more optimistic time and a beacon pointing to a more united future.

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