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Synthesized Sudan: Astro​-​Nubian Electronic Jaglara Dance Sounds from the Fashaga Underground

by Jantra

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ZOiD thumbnail
ZOiD Oh my God! These rhythms are INCREDIBLE!!! i have to listen in a very concentrated but relaxed way to all the elements and for a while i can't hear how they all interlock together, and then... BAM! it happens and i hear it and its so so so good Favorite track: Gedima.
cosmic_viscera thumbnail
cosmic_viscera transcendent, lilting, pentatonic bliss. feels familiar to my soul Favorite track: Makhafi.
Cosmographer thumbnail
Cosmographer This record is simply an EVENT. It's music to trip out to, full of unforgettable melodic hooks and rhythmically and tonally interesting throughout.

The picture in the inner cover of the gatefold, with a crowd of Sudanese quite literally worshipping the performer behind the keys, says it all. This is a must listen. Favorite track: Makhafi.
gthomas thumbnail
gthomas synth sizzle, polyrhythmic pulse Favorite track: Feej.
Gedima 03:56 video
Makhafi 05:19
Ozali 03:54
Shabal 04:33
Homoom 04:24
Khadija 04:07
Feej 03:07


Near the border of Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, a disputed area called Fashaga is home to one of the most raucous, hypnotic, addictive, and celestial dance musics being made anywhere in Africa, perhaps the least known to the wider world of them all. Far from the townships of South Africa or the cities of Nigeria, this sound belongs to people intimately tied to their land, deep in the rural areas of Sudan.

Known in some circles as “Jaglara,” this mysterious cosmic dance music is being innovated by one man, named Jantra, which translates as “craziness,” a moniker bestowed to celebrate both his personality and sound. Jantra cuts a mysterious figure, a rather unknown quantity even in Sudan, outside of the select few circles which have granted him cult status to perform at their humble gatherings or at street parties far from the gaze of the wider world. 

Never without his trusty blue Yamaha keyboard, Jantra joins a wave of synthesizer maestros across Africa revolutionizing the electronic sound of the continent. His dexterous fingers and street side raves in his home town of Gedarif near the Sudan-Ethiopia border caught the attention of a less privileged segment of Sudanese society who became infatuated. But you wouldn’t stumble across one of his parties unless you knew where to look, and they take place where few ever care to look.

Jantra has no songs. He simply freestyles a combination of his melodies incessantly for hours on end, acting as a live producer and DJ for emphatic crowds in compact spaces, where the energy of his 155-168 BPM music is known to inspire the odd gunslinger to raise his pistol in the middle of the dance floor, ready to fire away a few shots into the air when the build up reaches climax.

His Yamaha keyboard, like most keyboards, is not made in Africa and not tuned to cater to Sudanese rhythms or melodies. It required special tweaks from legendary keyboard mechanics in Omdurman market outside of the capital Khartoum who service, maintain, and jolt these synths to work for their aesthetics and flavor profile. Jantra then further tweaks the sound to achieve what you’re hearing — the perfect, sweet key tone, literally universal in its appeal.

To produce this album, the Ostinato team pioneered a new approach: a hybrid reissue-contemporary album. Jantra had made a few cassette and digital recordings in his early days. We used excerpts from those and followed him to his legendary parties on the outskirts of the outskirts of the capital. Using a special technique devised by Ostinato producer Janto Koité, we extracted the individual melodic patterns, rhythms, as well as the MIDI data, and combined them with older recordings to recreate his lengthy sessions into individual dance tracks for a worldwide audience to reach the enviable frenzy of Sudanese crowds. This promising new dance music emerging from the deepest reaches of Sudan has never made its way outside of Jantra’s parties, let alone outside of the country, and never been professionally recorded.

This record is confirmation that the many electronic styles being exported from Africa have a new worthy sibling and rival — Jantra’s signature electronic Jaglara from the Fashaga underground.

It is a privilege of the highest order to be exposed to this unheralded, incredibly well kept rural Sudanese secret. Use unsparingly at your next party.


released June 16, 2023

Synth Maestro: Ahmed Mohamed Yaqoup Eltom aka Jantra
Produced & Arranged by Vik Sohonie & Janto Koité
Mixed by Janto Koité
Recording & Data Extraction by Janto Koité
Artwork by Mahammed El Mekki
Mastered by Helge Hasselberg
Layout by Pete ‘Piwi’ White
Special thanks to Tamador Gibreel & Omer Alghali Alhag


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Nominated for a Grammy and the German Records Critics Prize.

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