Stronghold Sound is a production studio based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Following their compilation featuring afrobeat, Arab folk, reggae, dub-step, hip-hop and nu-cumbia, Stronghold traveled to Guinea-Conakry to record music at the heart of what was once the Mandeng Empire of West Africa. The result is a two volume set entitled Sembeh Ma Fa Fe, which translated from Susu means, “strong sound coming.” The first part, Revists Volume, focuses primarily on the young and upcoming artists rising in the music scene of Conakry. The second part, Roots Volume, will feature more traditional sounds with djembe and balafon accompanying the longing wails of vocalists. Revists Volume is out on June 5th.
Guinea recently held its first democratic election, taking a big step toward the future and leaving behind decades of military rule. It seemed like a good time to hear from the young, talented artists from around the nation. When news started to spread about a “big time US producer” coming to Conakry, hopeful musicians lined up to get involved. The producer in question was Dub Snakkr (aka Ahmed Khouja), one of the key djs/producers behind Stronghold Sound and a long time student of djembe culture. He arrived with a portable recording rig and a 7″ record player. Snakkr was overwhelmed by the amount of talent he found in Guinea. He worked with nearly twenty artists to produce an eclectic collection of the current and traditional music scene in Guinea by combining his sense of West African, reggae, dancehall, hip-hop and dub music. Local block party and talent competition standouts mixed popular urban music with West African melodies and rhythms to create a nice blend of contemporary sounds on Revists Volume.
One of the standout songs from the series is the title track where everyone contributes some vocals. The Matoto family has put together a video featuring the artists which you can watch below. This is an impressive collection of talent and considering it is one part of two, the complete package will be quite a set. Look out for Revists Volume in record stores on June 5th and stay tuned for the future release of Roots Volume.