The country of Mauritania sits on the far West of the African continent, between desert and sea. A rapidly urbanizing population has settled in the capital of Nouakchott over the past decades, and traditional music has mixed with modern instrumentation in a myriad of forms. But Mauritanian music remains distinctively regional and proudly independent of global homogeny. Explore the Sahel Sounds archives of field recordings, videos, and albums on contemporary and archival Mauritania music here!

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…

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Ahmed Sidi Bella’s Tidnit

Ahmed Sidi Bella - Bundja (tidnit) Ahmed Sidi Bella - Wezen (guitar) I first met Ahmed Sidi Bella, way back in 2009, during my first field recordings. At the time, he only had a tidnit and a child's size nylon string guitar. With trepidation, I put the microphone in the…

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it takes two – waande kadde & top wzn

Starting off this new year with two new releases: Waande Kadde, dreamy acoustic Pulaar music from the villages of Fouta Toro, and Top WZN, synth, drum machines, and electric tidnit from the capital city of Mauritania. While they are immediately sonically different, they bear more similarities than one may suspect.…

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nouakchott wedding songs

In 2011, I traveled to Nouakchott, the capital city of Mauritania to record wedding music. Over the course of six months, I went to a variety of weddings: from the luxurious, high end invitations in the chic neighborhoods of Tevragh Zeina, to the ramshackle tent affairs in far flung suburbs…

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timbouctou no. 1

? The first time I met Yacine Ould Nana was in a crumbling mansion in the posh neighborhood of Nouakchott. I was sitting on the floor recording the rambling songs of his brother when he marched in. "39th and Lexington," he said, to my confusion, and then launched into his…

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l’orchestre national de mauritanie, revisted

Finally wrapped up an album that has been in production for over three years - which is not saying much, considering that the music had been sitting, locked away for over four decades. I first encountered the L'Orchestre National on Youtube, via a badly degraded pinkish hued clip of a…

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