Abu Obaida Hassan and the wonders of his five-string tambour remained largely a mystery. In the early 2000s, a prominent Sudanese newspaper declared him dead. Internet forums confirmed his passing. Many in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, said he had indeed died. But rumors that he was still alive persisted. What was always certain is Abu Obaida Hassan’s mercurial talent. Through some extensive detective work with our man in Khartoum, Ahmed Easysouti, and a generous dose of good fortune, we tracked Abu Obaida to the rural outskirts of Omdurman, the old capital just across the White Nile from Khartoum. Age has taken it’s toll, but he remains full of life and music, ready to jointly curate a selection of his eight best cuts. He has written over 100 songs, only 30 were recorded. It was music for a modern era, and Abu Obaida, at just 19, rebelliously abandoned traditional Shaigiya music traditions, pioneering a new sound by adding an extra string to his tambour and electrifying an instrument adored across East Africa. The result was complexity in simplicity and a hypertalented artist who mirrors the story of Sudan’s highs and lows, from the leading tambour maestro of the hour to such obscurity on the fringes that he was believed dead. “They killed me!”, he likes to joke. Abu Obaida Hassan, his music and the musical traditions of the Shaigiya remain alive and kicking. A culmination of a 7-year journey – from first hearing Abu Obaida’s distinct sound, found only in Sudan, to finding the man – has produced the first global release of Shaigiya music and is just the beginning of Ostinato’s immersion into Sudan, with a full compilation of the lavish musical history of one the most diverse countries in Africa due later this year. All brought to you by the Grammy-nominated team behind last year’s Sweet As Broken Dates.