Nyege Nyege Tapes will release a new 15-track compilation exploring the birth of electronic acholi dance music in Northern Uganda later this week.

The electronic re-interpretation of traditional acholi songs began in Northern Uganda, primarily in the cities of Gulu and Lira, around 2003, when Northern Uganda was still mired in a brutal civil war at huge human cost to the civilian population.

Acholi was traditionally performed at weddings, but young producers began replacing the much larger traditional Larakaraka bands that, under war time conditions, had become too costly for many newly weds to afford (troupes could consist up to 25 members). These young producers formed recording studios that offered all-inclusive packages where they would write a song for a newly-wedded couple and then film the wedding and also perform the commissioned song at the ceremony.

The sound these producers first made on their computers followed closely the traditional variants that were performed with a range of percussion, calabashes, ankle bells, and call-and-response vocals, but the tempos we sped up with pounding drum machine poly-rhythms.

The sound quickly spread into the local nightclubs around Gulu like the Alobo Night Club and the Opit Travelers inn. To this day, electro acholi provides the soundtrack to these cities’ nightlife at clubs such as Pier 2 and Signature.

This compilation compiles 15 tracks from the scene’s heyday between 2003- 2008, all recorded in various studios in those two cities. It brings together for the first time 15 hard-to-find classics of the genre featuring some of the most renowned vocalists at the time, including Bosmic Otim, Jeff Kornodo, Tabu Busy Body, Zing Zang, and City Boy and Otim Alpha.


A1 / 1. Lady Grace Atim “Adoko Gwok”
A2 / 2. Baby Davlin “Can Lim”
A3 / 3. Opiyo Twongweno “Kolo” (Dog Mix)
A4 / 4. Jahria Okwera “Awinyo Bila”
B1 / 5. Pro Lagwee “Rwot Moo”
B2 / 6. Pan Afrique “Angee Kobo:Rasta Cobra Okot Rework”
B3 / 7. Ojegele “Nyaka Twon Coo”
B4 / 8. Brother Q & City Boy “Can Deg Ming”
C1 / 9. Opiyo Twongweno “Gang Deyo”
C2 / 10. Bosmic Otim “Bandera pa kaka”
C3 / 11. Tabu Buzy Body “Kolo Wece”
C4 / 12. Zing Zang “Gang Oling”
D1 / 13. Jeff Korondo “Tum pa Ocii”
D2 / 14. Lakoc Jojo “Apiyo Nyara”
D3 / 15. Otim Alpha “Nyom pa Denish”

Electro Acholi Kaboom from Northern Uganda is out on September 12, with clips below.

'Electro Acholi Kaboom from Northern Uganda' is out  September 12.