When Afropop Worldwide spent time in Egypt back in 2011, we met American percussionist and lyre player Miguel Merino. He introduced us to Ahmed Said Abuamna, an amazing Sudanese musician and master of little known Beja traditional music, particularly the lyre. Together they formed Otaak Band, which has released three albums. Abuamna visited the U.S. in 2014 to perform with the band, but more recently Merino has talen up the lyre himself.
As with so many artists, the COVID-19 lockdown has introduced a whole new set of challenges, but Merino has kept busy. He's been posting videos on the Otaak Band website in which he breaks down songs the band has recorded, interspersed with rare videos of the music's origins. It's a deep dive into a truly special East African tradition, highly recommended!
Have a look, and if you dig it, subscribe!