Tambatum

Afelan Tisseway In 2012, I had the chance to meet with Tambatum, renowned poet (read: Tisseway) of the Azawakh region in Niger. It was my first trip to Niger to meet with Mdou Moctar, and he was insistent that visit him. I recorded about an hour of recording, with a…

Balani Show, Origins

"Balani Show" is a Malian phenomena with two decades of history. Surprisingly, there is little about it, even in Western academic circles. In Mali, it's so common that its existence and story are taken for granted. I recently connected with Diaki Kone a.k.a. DJ Diaki, an animator and radio DJ.…

Mdou Moctar – Ilana: The Creator

Mdou Moctar's Ilana: The Creator is out today, and the USA tour just kicked off - check full dates here. A long time coming, “Ilana” is Mdou's first true studio album with a live band. Recorded in Detroit at the tail end of a US tour by engineer Chris Koltay…

Ahmed Ag Kaedy – Akaline Kidal

Akaline Kidal by Ahmed Ag Kaedy The new album from Ahmed Ag Kaedy "Akaline Kidal" is a very long time in the making. I first met Ahmed years back, in 2009, while living in Kidal. At the time, Ahmed was the leader of a musical group Amanar, a popular hometown…

Hama – Houmeissa

Houmeissa by Hama Hama, real name Mouhamadou Moussa, make some undeniably forward thinking music. He first started playing when he was gifted a Yamaha PSR-64, an interesting and now very hard to find keyboard, that had the ability to make programmed beats and play in "Arabic Scales" or quarter tones.…

Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla, Mauritanian Synth & the Internet

I was first introduced to Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla while living in Nouakchott. His mauritanian synth became the soundtrack to nearly every taxi ride through the desert capital, a sublime ambiance to a country that I couldn't (and still can't) wrap my head around. In contrast to the weddings with their…