This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)
SSDD Entertainers, a WeMigrants affiliated music group, was brought together by Seedy Saidykhan at the beginning of 2020. The group was founded by Lamin Drammeh, Kamara Silvan and Domenic Rathjen. With the project they support young people in Oldenburg, migrants and non-migrants, to make music together within the group SSDD Entertainers. We asked the three main players some questions about their career so far and the goal of their project.
SSDD Entertainers… at first glance, that sounds like entertainment. What is it about your project that makes it unique? And what connection does it have to WeMigrants?
Domenic: We are a project within the WeMigrants association. We want to create an open space for all young people to develop musically together. It’s not just about entertainment, but also about supporting each other and learning from each other. People from different cultures should meet here and process the influences of their past, their knowledge, their being and their everyday life in musical pieces. The works also often refer to current (political) events and support, among others, MITEINANDER LEBEN – a project of Radio Globale and the local radio station Oldenburg Eins – and UnitedAgainstRacism. Through the project, diversity is promoted and encouraged to learn to love the differences that define us. In such an environment, integration is facilitated in both directions.
Wow, that sounds really great! And what did you do before you joined forces? Were you already making music then?
Lamin: Before I met Domenic and Amara, I actually only sang for myself. Every now and then I would post it on social media. Mainly on Instagram and Facebook, sometimes on YouTube. I love RNB and soul music because it’s music that touches your soul, deep inside. In Italy, before I came to Germany, I learned to play piano for two months. Then I came here. Now I’m still taking piano lessons. One day Seedy called me and told me about Domenic, showed me his music. I just thought: wow, this guy’s music is incredible! One day we met at Seedy’s place and discussed what we could start together. We set up a small studio in my room and the rest is history!
Amara: I was doing music with Lamin before the formation of the music group SSDD Entertainers. Mostly it was African-influenced music, RNB and so on. I went to school and lived my life like everyone else. When we started the music group I was happy because I saw the potential in it to make my dreams come true. I love music, and now I have people to make music with – it doesn’t get any better than that, does it?
Domenic: I started rapping when I was 15 years old. Actually just for fun, because rap music was very popular in my circle of friends at the time and I wanted to capture artistically how we live and what values we represent. For example, “give and take” was at the top of our list. Before that, I had been playing guitar for a long time and had also written a few songs. However, knowing that I would probably never be the best at playing guitar or singing, but having a talent for writing lyrics, I found my passion in rap. After my first song for my circle of friends at the time, they didn’t allow me to just stop doing it anyway. My people were enthusiastic. From then on, rapping has followed me through my entire life. I wrote songs mainly for myself, as self-therapy. And in the process, I saw that I was making blatant progress and could actually get better at what I was doing than most. It was always the only thing I could hold on to and have the stamina to keep going.
What do you like most about working together within the project?
Lamin: For me, the music group SSDD Entertainers is like a dream come true. The day we met was a day when I wanted to drop everything and quit music. But after that, everything changed. I found my love for music again. SSDD is the reason why I’m still doing music now. We have grown together so quickly into a family! Shortly after we wrote our first song and sang it live on Seedy’s Show, we were inseparable and totally in harmony. That’s what SSDD is all about for me.
Domenic: I can only agree with that. At the time of our first meeting, I was not doing very well due to various events in my life. I was still relatively new in Oldenburg. And since I had always worked on my music as a “one-man-army” without any outside support until then, I was also on the verge of just quitting. Then I found a few friends here – one of them was Seedy. To this day, I’m grateful to him for introducing me to Lamin and Amara after I showed him my music. I love the concept we came up with, that everyone has the opportunity to make music together with us and be supported by us in their musical creations. We are just a family, I love that. It’s fantastic to make music with the others. Some come, some go – that’s the concept of SSDD after all – but this inner circle, the four of us as founders who started this project, is the pole that always remains. SSDD Entertainers and especially our concept behind it allows me to make music with always different people, to be inspired and exchange influences. We will always be able to evolve and discover something new, discover different inspirations, styles and aspects without being afraid to lose this “Inner Circle” because of it.
Amara: And that’s why I love SSDD, especially the people themselves! We are really like a family, we have set this up here and pull it through together. That creates trust in each other and in ourselves. I love who we are and what we do
It can hardly be better! What songs have you recorded so far?
Domenic: We have already recorded some multilingual songs, including two songs for the project MITEINANDER LEBEN, in which we processed our everyday life in the Covid 19 lockdown. At an anti-racism demonstration of the association UnitedAgainstRacism we also performed a song live against racism in the wake of the killing of the dark-skinned US-American George Floyd.
Then you have already achieved quite a bit according to your possibilities! Do you have any wishes for the future of your collaboration?
Domenic: For our project, due to the growing group, a location and – due to the higher professionalism required – a better setup are now necessary. Also, the possibility of being able to record professionally in a studio and receive professional help there would be ideal for further musical development. Currently, we work with the audio editing program Adobe Audition, whose monthly fee is paid out of pocket, and a limited demo version of the program FL Studio 20 to be able to create instrumentals on the computer. A microphone is available, but the setup is more at a beginner’s level. These are all problems that need to be addressed now. We are also aiming for a recording date at Cubetribe recording studio in Oldenburg, as they are very experienced in producing high quality music, creating instrumentals and merging the genres of RNB/Pop/Soul and HipHop/Rap. I hope that we will achieve these goals in 2021!
Lamin: I hope so, too. This project means a lot to me. I want SSDD to be heard all over the world, to fall on open ears. That everyone knows who we are. That is my biggest dream.
Amara: What more can I say about that? That’s exactly what I want. I want the music group SSDD Entertainers to be heard internationally and to have appeal. That is the goal