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One man’s mission to unearth Africa’s lost treasure trove of music

When he was growing up, Vik Sohonie moved around a lot with his family. Born in India, he was raised in various places in southeast Asia and the United States, and spent extended periods in Europe and Africa. To stay anchored wherever he ended up, he recalls, he listened to music. “I always saw music not only as what people listen to and enjoy, but as a gateway to other cultures,” he said.

After getting a master’s degree in journalism and working for international media outlets including Reuters, Sohonie wanted a project that combined his passion for storytelling and music. He was especially interested in African music, much of which is overlooked globally.

And so was born the idea of Ostinato Records, a New York-based label that documents music from the African continent and diaspora. Sohonie has his work cut out for him, as he specifically goes in search of lost or rare music.


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