Asset 120386
© Janto Djassi
Asset 120386
© Janto Djassi

Groupe RTD

The Dancing Devils of Djibouti


Pre-sale: 13 Euro (conc. 9 Euro) / evening box: 16 Euro

Past dates



10:00 PM

While music from Somalia is known worldwide, the large and unique musical repertoire from the neighboring Republic of Djibouti has remained almost unknown in the West. The country on the Red Sea is as large as the federal German state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and, since independence from France in 1977, has been ruled by the RPP party, which also has a decisive influence on the distribution and production of music. Thus, the state broadcaster RTD owns a large archive, in which the Grammy-nominated label Ostinato Records and the Hamburg-based music producer and photographer Janto Djassi took an interest in 2016 and traveled to Djibouti. On site, label founder Vik Sohonie and Djassi encountered not only old recordings but also a living archive: the national radio band Groupe RTD, with whom they immediately recorded the album »The Dancing Devils of Djibouti« in just three days at the RTD station’s studio. On this album the nine-member band does not play the usual music of presidential receptions, but what drives them after work and accentuates Djibouti's musical legacy: a thrilling mix of the native Tadjoura rhythms with hints of Indian Bollywood, Somali pop or the jazz of Harlem, touched by the Ethiopian Danto style, which slightly resembles Jamaican reggae. Following Ostinato Record’s release of the album in 2020, Groupe RTD is now on tour in Europe for the first time.

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