I’ve come to Timbouctou to find a Tamashek guitarist named “Aba”. He is from Gargando, and has left music and joined the military. I don’t find him. However, I do meet with Mohamed Ag Abothy (or Mohamed “Bidega”) who plays the bidega, a semispherical wood instrument with attached pieces of steel. Mohamed claims this is a Tamashek instrument (his father made it, his father before him, etc.), but the sound is similar to that found further south – perhaps influenced by the Mande sound?
Bocar Tandina is a guitarist who plays in the traditional “Sori” style (think Ali Farka Toure). Along with Mohammad (and a percussionist), they make up the group Fafadoby.
Lastly, a street field recording, walking through the old center of Timbouctou (crying children, an agitated drum session, music drifting from a radio…and motorbikes!
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The bidega sounds like a mbira, or thumb piano, native to Southern Africa.