About this project
Music from Saharan Cellphones Volume 2 is a compilation of music collected from memory cards of cellular phones in the Saharan desert. And it's coming to vinyl.
In much of West Africa, cellphones are all purpose multimedia devices. In lieu of personal computers and high speed internet, knockoff cellphones house portable music collections, playback songs on tinny built in speakers, and swap files in a very literal peer to peer Bluetooth wireless transfer.
When I lived in Northern Malian town of Kidal I collected these songs. In 2010 I released a selection of cellphone music on cassette mixtapes. After tracking down the artists I launched a Kickstarter and brought the first volume to vinyl. Over the past year, I've continued to find artists using all the tools available. I've scoured Facebook and Youtube and have returned to Northern Mali to meet musicians face to face.
Volume 2 continues in the same vein as the first volume, drawing on the underground network of popular Saharan tunes. They are also songs that tend towards DIY self production - from local Malian village rappers to Autotuned Tuareg guitarists.
Music from Saharan Cellphones has circulated throughout the internet, featured on BBC, the Guardian, Pitchfork, The Wire Magazine, Vice, and lots of other blogs. Bringing it to vinyl will continue with the goals of the first, to get the artists their deserved recognition and proper compensation. The vinyl is accompanied with liner notes featuring a short bio of each artist as well as their photos on the back cover.
The funding makes this release possible by offering pre-orders of the album, covering a portion of production costs, mastering, distribution, and payment for the artists.
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