Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New Band: Iska Dhaaf

A friend mailed me the other day a link to a familiarly named band of which I haven't heard before. Iska Dhaaf (which means in Somali so much as let it go, stop it, forget it, don't bother, so what! ...) is a new American band recently formed in Seattle. From their site:

Inspired by Sufi poetry, limitation, and an obsessive preoccupation with writing, Nathan Quiroga and Benjamin Verdoes have fused their seemingly disparate musical and personal backgrounds into something searching and honest. Their songs, with heavy rhythms and cutting melodic hooks, are at once infectious and sweetly disarming

Wondering why they chose such a name, I found this artcle:

Tonally, the group borrow vintage African rock tones and scales, especially the lo-fi warbly guitar sounds that resurfaced with the recent re-release of Dur-Dur Band’s Somali funk-rock. It makes sense—Verdoes has spent a long while now learning the Somali language, and the cultural fascination seems to be leaking into Quiroga’s excellent guitar work...What’s interesting about the band is how subtly the African influence is blended with surf and punk...

This explanation immediately hurled me back to memories of outfits from the 70s and 80s which blended Somali folk with funk, rock, punk and surf guitar. Specially Onkod and Danan razed the roof with that otherworldy sound. The sad reality is that I can't find any of their albums; neither in my or my friends' collections nor online. I'd be grateful to anybody who can tip us off to their hiding places.

Iska Dhaaf's debut efforts are easy to find and they're imo quite magnificent. Or, as we say in Somali, waa lama dhaafaan (not to be missed)!

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