Ishilan N-Tenere

After a substantial work, we’ve finally wrapped up the first official release from SahelSounds. In collaboration with Mississippi Records, the record Ishilan N-Tenere features contemporary guitar music from three ethnic regions of the Sahel — Fouta Toro, the Niger Buckle, and Adrar D’Ifoghas:

“This compilation highlights recordings of local guitar bands in three areas of modern day Senegal and Mali. These bands are almost unknown outside of their homes but have a devoted local following. They play all events, celebratory or political. Their songs are folk anthems, hummed under the breath and chanted by children, traded by cassette and transferred by cellphone. The guitar bands are the pride of their towns.”

The release is available on vinyl only, the first pressing limited to 2,000 copies, and features a 12 page full color booklet and extensive liner notes written by yours truly.

I strongly believe digital music should be free. However, the option to support the artists is provided should one be so inclined. Much of the music was once featured here on the site, but I’ve also made it available with a sliding scale price beginning at $2, but with the option to go much higher (for the sake of transparency Bandcamp takes a cut and the remaining profit is split 60% to the artists and 40% for SahelSounds).

Download the album at Bandcamp

This Post Has 22 Comments

  1. icastico

    Lovely. Good to see others taking advantage of the “name your price” option at bandcamp.

    You should also set up a “tip the artist” link for another option.

  2. sahelsou

    If I could — although figuring out the moneygrams would be a nightmare!

  3. Jonathan Dueck

    this is awesome! How can one buy the vinyl release?

  4. Hudson Gardner

    Man, this is so rad. You need to let me know how to get the vinyl.. my sister would freak out if I gaver her that!

  5. Jo/No

    Wow, sounds terrific! So smooth and nice. Perfect music to wind down after days of hectic pre-christmas routines. Really appreciate the Bandcamp-option as it’s so handy, but truly looking forward to the vinyl version. Also good to hear that revenues are going back to the artists (especially as the mississippi folks got themselves a bad reputation after their first few releases).

  6. oisin

    hey – great sounding record. downloading it now! would you mind explaining a bit on how you set up payment for the artists – contracts / publishing / etc?

  7. sahelsou

    Oisin —

    It was fairly easy, because I know all of the artists (sentimental note: they’re all personal friends) Since the original project and recordings were made without commercial intention, there was no initial contract.

    Back in the states I met with Mississippi Records. I called all the people involved, and we sent Moneygrams (invoking the suspicion of Homeland Security!). The download percentage is again, Moneygram, twice a year (Also, the kids’ on the record also get paid!).

  8. steve

    Hey there!
    Super stoked for you first official release. I check in on your site regularly and love the music!
    I’ve done some similar stuff in Gambia and am heading back in a few months to record more. Also into what Mississippi records is doing as former Portlander.
    It’s a bit more “produced” but check out our release on Bandcamp as well:
    I went through a label called Akwaaba music…you should check them out as well.
    keep up the good work..I’ll put this on the ipod next to my Music from saharan Cellphones!

  9. Nat Andreini

    Hi Christopher,

    This album is amazing. Thanks to people like you, people like me can enjoy music from around the world. I’m a fellow Portlander who will be returning (from Japan) this summer and will patiently await the full price purchase of the 12″ vinyl.


  10. Martin Roberts

    What a labor of love! This is honestly one of the best records I’ve bought in the last five or ten years. Best of luck with your site and ongoing work with these communities and artists!

  11. james

    thank you for not forcing us to pay extra for FLAC!
    the Gargando preview track is superb and I hope the rest lives up to that one. I love your blog, man, and I hope to travel Africa and the Middle East with my own Zoom H2 some day soon.

  12. sahelsou

    Thank you for all the comments…and thanks for the support.

  13. mb

    Have listened to the record a dozen times since buying yesterday — it’s some of the best stuff I’ve heard in ages. Glad $ actually going to artists. Thanks!

  14. tones

    finally got some dough and snagged a copy on wax. it’s sublime.

  15. redon lévigne seb

    I just bought the LP today 🙂 great work, wonderful disc !!! and like MB said earlier i don’t stop hearing this record

    thanks for this 🙂

  16. Dan

    Perhaps my favorite release of the year. So wonderful.

  17. Ryan

    Transfixed by this record. Absolutely sublime. Would love to find out more about Abba Gargando. Has Abba released any other albums or recordings?

  18. sahelsou

    no albums — besides some cassettes circulating around. i recorded part of this cassette at a taxi stop in Nema ( — that eventually sent me to track him down. i’ll keep an eye out though, and see if he wants to record more (currently he lives in Timbouctou)

  19. Jill Turner

    Inspirational and thoroughly enjoyable, a labour of love to be loved and cherished and played and played….its our album of the week to celebrate record store day.

    Much love

  20. slim

    Please, more Abba Gargando. He’s the man.

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