1 Feb – Mousonturm – Frankfurt D
Les Filles de Illighadad are back on tour for 2018. Check out full dates below, across the EU + onto the Réunion Islands. They’ll be joined for the first time with Amariam Ahmed, guitarist from Agadez (profiled here back in 2014). You can stay up to date on the tour via the FB page.
3 Feb – Roter Salon – Berlin D
8 Feb – Festival Hors Pistes – Annecy FR
9 Feb – Generiq Festival – Dijon FR
10 Feb – Generiq Festival – Belfort FR
11 Feb – La Maroquinerie – Paris FR
13 Feb – La Coope – Clermont Ferrand FR
14 Feb – Le 106 – Rouen FR
15 Feb – Stereolux – Nantes FR
16 Feb – La Sirène – La Rochelle FR
17 Feb – L’Astrolabe – Orleans FR
20 Feb – Kabardock – Le Port Reunion
22 Feb – Le Zinzin – Grand Bois Reunion
23 Feb – Le Bisik – Saint Benoit Reunion
24 Feb – L’Auditorium De La Médiathèque Tampon – Reunion
25 Feb – Théatre Sous Les Arbres – Le Port Reunion
28 Feb – Kafe Antzokia – Bilbao Spain
1 Mar – Lata De Zinc – Oviedo Spain
2 Mar – Radar Estudio – Vigo Spain
3 Mar – Putzuzulo Gaztetxea – Zarautz Spain
4 Mar – Centro Civica Delicias – Zaragoza Spain
5 Mar – Sala X – Seville Spain
6 Mar – Sufre – Valencia Spain
7 Mar – Centro Benito Moliner – Huesca Spain
8 Mar – Artte – Barcelona Spain
9 Mar – Cafe Berlin – Madrid Spain
10 Mar – Teatro – Espinho Portugal
11 Mar – ZDB – Lisbon Portugal
Mariam Ahmed is a guitarist in Agadez, which in itself is not spectacular. With so many guitarists in the city, one needs not to search far. However, there are practically no female guitarists in Tuareg music and Mariam is perhaps one of a handful across the diaspora.
Tuareg guitar is largely a folk tradition of men. While not imposed by force, it is maintained by social norms of where the guitar appears. The long days of the ishumar, teapot slowly bubbling on coal, is a world segregated by gender. When guitar enters, it is in this male milieu (a world reflected in my recordings over the past years, which are mostly of male artists).
When I press her on the subject with a litany of thinly veiled questions about the gender dynamics of Tuareg guitar – “is it hard to be a female guitarist” – she simply shrugs and shakes her head. Later, Mdou posits that the bigger problem and prohibitions on playing music are class based – if family comes from a tradition of nobles and chiefs, or a religious lineage of marabouts. Mariam comes from neither, so can play shred in weddings.
I’m left expecting more, waiting for her to deliver some explanation. I begin to suspect that I’m more focused on this imagined conflict with a woman guitarist than anyone else. Later that evening, Mariam returns and we record three songs on her acoustic guitar. I finally stop asking questions and Mariam plays. She sings in a soft voice, carried by her acoustic guitar but with a driving pace. Part way through, the power cuts out and we’re left in total darkness. I can’t see anything. She keeps playing.
Mariam Ahmed (cover)