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World - Released October 4, 2021 | Sahel Sounds

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World - Released August 27, 2021 | Sahel Sounds

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World - Released July 9, 2021 | Sahel Sounds

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It's a fascinating turn of musical history that some of the sounds that originally inspired American blues music are once again emanating from the north and west regions of Africa without—and this is key—minimal return influence from the New World. Based around the folk music of the Taureg people and propelled into the 21st century by the rapid adoption and a tenacious love of the electric guitar, this so-called "desert blues" is one of international pop music's most exciting new streams. Named for their hometown of Illighadad in Niger, Fatou Seidi Ghali, (guitar, vocals) Alamnou Akrouni (percussion, vocals), Amaria Hamadalher (guitar, percussion) and the group's only male member Abdoulaye Madassane (guitar, vocals) make a collective sound that is all plucked guitars, chanted vocals and a stomping, jamming style of repeated lines on top of a very persuasive groove. This is dance music, even if only for those who like boogie in place with themselves. These six long tracks were recorded live at the Pioneer Works arts space in Red Hook, Brooklyn NYC by a quintet of engineers. Microphone placement, which could not have been easy with this many voices and electric guitars constantly playing, seems reasonably well thought out, the result being clean and well-separated. Built on a steady rhythmic underpinning, rolling jams like "Shakara" gain momentum with driving, repeated vocal lines, sung alone and in unison in Tamasheq. Electric guitar solos fill in the spaces between vocals. All three guitarists are skilled at single note picking and full of fertile string ideas. The overall effect in a piece like "Eghass Malan" is of both a joyous dance party and a near religious experience. Les Filles de Illighadad were discovered and continue to be produced by Sahel Sounds founder Christopher Kirkley who has taken great pains not to be seen as another Western cultural vulture out to exploit indigenous music. While the studio albums are both worth more than a listen, this is music that must be heard live to truly be appreciated with the shuffling of feet and clapping of hands adding to the uplifting ambiance. © Robert Baird/Qobuz
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World - Released June 29, 2021 | Sahel Sounds

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World - Released June 17, 2021 | Sahel Sounds

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World - Released April 29, 2021 | Sahel Sounds

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World - Released April 27, 2021 | Sahel Sounds

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World - Released March 24, 2021 | Sahel Sounds

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World - Released February 26, 2021 | Sahel Sounds

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World - Released February 2, 2021 | Sahel Sounds

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World - Released December 1, 2020 | Sahel Sounds

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Africa - Released July 24, 2020 | Sahel Sounds

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Africa - Released June 5, 2020 | Sahel Sounds

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World - Released May 15, 2020 | Sahel Sounds

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World - Released May 1, 2020 | Sahel Sounds

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World - Released April 8, 2020 | Sahel Sounds

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Rock - Released March 13, 2020 | Sahel Sounds

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Rock - Released February 11, 2020 | Sahel Sounds

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Africa - Released December 6, 2019 | Sahel Sounds

This 1994 recording did not appear to garner much interest with Western audiences upon its release, but it was hugely important for the Sahrawi community. The album Tiris by the band El Wali became a cult disc for the nomadic population who have been trying to claim the independence of their land ever since it was colonised by Spain in 1975 and which has since been the subject of tension between them and their Moroccan and Algerian neighbours who also claim ownership of the land. The band deliver a decidedly direct political message over a background of pop jingles, mid-tempo rock, Oriental melismata and jerky rhythms. Political hymns (The Day of the Free Nation), demands for identity (Let Me Know Our Past), songs honouring the glory of soldiers (Long Live the Sahrawi Army) or of the prophet (Song for the Prophet) make up the tracklist. In the context of today, the dated production effects will elicit either guilty pleasure or frustration, but there is something so charming about the energy of the guitars, the richness of the melodies and the beauty of the songs which these men and women undertake with all their hearts. It’s the same feeling felt when listening to Touareg rock, or Aziza Brahim’s albums: a surge towards freedom. © Benjamin MiNiMuM/Qobuz
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Africa - Released October 8, 2019 | Sahel Sounds