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Welcome back to Selections, a series of artist-curated playlists from those in the know.

Duke is the Tanzanian rhythm scientist steering the ship over at Dar es Salaam-based studio Pamoja Records, where his synapse-scything signature sound, singeli, reigns supreme.

Fast, furious and unlike much else, the hectic style swept the country and the international music scene, with its key players – like Duke and regular sparring partner, MCZO – championing singeli at festivals like Unsound and Nyege Nyege.

Duke recently stepped back out on the Nyege Nyege Tapes label, following his solo debut Uingizaji Hewa – on which he experimented with a slower (albiet, still autobahn-paced) “hip-hop singeli” offshoot – and 2021’s Sounds of Pamoja compilation. His latest, Early Instrumentals, is exactly as its title suggests: a beat-driven bonanza bringing together unearthed instrumentals with futuristic intent.

Here, Duke shares a selection of tracks “that are very important for us in the wider world of singeli and singeli-inspired music,” he says. “Our label Nyege Nyege Tapes has been pushing Tanzanian singeli since its founding in 2016. Included in this selection are a few tracks from the first international releases of singeli, including Bampa Pana’s Biti Six and early and much repurposed singeli instrumental Sing444 – one of my first tracks ever.”

Continuing, Duke adds: “I have also included [music] from Domadana Kadodi Performers. While they are from Uganda, the music bears some similarity to traditional Zaramo music – the tribe near Dar Es Salaam from whom a lot of traditional music is derived from.”

Expect tracks from producers influenced by singeli alongside an early international collaboration, between Jay Mitta and Errorsmith too, as well as “the great DJ DIaki from Mali, whose fast-paced music bears resemblance to singeli but in different ways.” 

Start your week on a high. Let’s go. 

Early Instrumentals is out now via Nyege Nyege Tapes