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Country Comoros France Zanzibar Genres traditional hiphop fusion Website www.colomberecords.com Festival Sauti za Busara 2015 Recordings
Origines (2013); Etre (2010); Hip Hop Live (2006); Ou Va Ce Monde? (2003); Gouttes d'eau (2001)
Ahamada Smis, a singer-songwriter from the Comoros Islands has been living in Marseilles since first arriving in France at the age of 10. This rapper and spoken word artist has been mixing traditional music from the Comoros with urban poetry, in the spirit of afro-ngoma. Ahamada Smis’ story is made of words and music, which some may describe as poetry slam. Among his many influences and inspirations, he lists Marseille, faith, poetry, peoples’ stories from all around the world, as well as his origins. Ahamada Smis has cultivated a unique blend of hiphop and world music.
As a teenager in Marseille, while French rappers found credibility in defining themselves as gangsters, Ahamada was talking about peace and water drops. From the beginning he was supported by 3e Oeil (Third Eye), a local hiphop band who appreciated his softness and strength of identity. Ahamada’s live appearances multiplied and in 2001 he released his first maxi-single Gouttes d'eau (Water Drops) on the music label Colombe Records that he also started the same year. In 2003 he put out a 6-track EP Ou Va Ce Monde? (Where Is This World Going?) and his first album, Etre (Be).
Ahamada Smis did not want to rush. He used time to his advantage. After years of hard working and perseverance, he went from composing his poetry in the rooms of a steel factory to writing in professional music studios. He carefully constructed a universe of his own and when everybody was expecting him to come up with lyrics about street life, he surprised everybody with his own reality. The album Etre (Be) featured artists like Pierre-Laurent Bertolino, Cyril Benhamou, David Walters, Sibongile Mbambo, Miquu et Baltazar Montanaro, Mike Aub, Bawuta Kin and Staff Benda Bilili. Through these collaborations, the album became an acoustic tribute to cultural exchanges. Ahamada Smis’ latest project ‘Origines’, released in 2013, was produced and recorded during music creation workshops in Mayotte, Grand Comore, Anjouan, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Reunion islands. It is an encounter with traditional musics and instruments.
Whilst in the Indian Ocean region, Ahamada Smis drew inspiration from the origins of sambe, twarab, mgodro, maloya, deba (all parts of the Arabo-Bantu mixed cultural heritage). For the live performance of ‘Origines’ at Sauti za Busara, Ahamada Smis will be accompanied by 2 multi-instrumentalists who took part in the earlier residencies. Originally from Grand Comore, Soubi plays gaboussi and dzenze. Mohamed Issa Matona, a music teacher and member of many local groups in Zanzibar, plays oud, violin and qanun.