Tuareg guitar has become one of the most popular folk music in the contemporary Sahara. Originally political ballads, created in exile in Libya, today the sound has expanded to encompass everything from introspective love songs, blistering psychedelic rock, and synthesizer and drum machine. At its core, the music still relies on poetry to transmit a message, carried by the pentatonic solos of a guitar.
Browse the Sahel Sounds archive below for an extensive collection of posts, recordings, and albums about the genre.
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…
Mdou Moctar – Ilana: The Creator
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…
Ahmed Ag Kaedy – Akaline Kidal
Moussa "Tchingou" Eggour is one of the most ambitious younger (under 25) Agadez Tuareg guitarists, eager for success. Raised in the midst of the Saharan internet revolution, he runs his own social media (something that the older crop of musicians don't know how to do). He has his own Youtube…
Moussa Tchingou, Zone Touareg
Zerzura (Original Soundtrack Recording) by Ahmoudou Madassane In 2016, we created a film titled Zerzura. The story concerns a young man Ahmoudou Madassane, disillusioned with the pastoral life. He sets off for the city, where he learns of his brother's mysterious disappearance. His journey leads him on an unexpected quest,…
Zerzura Original Soundtrack Recording
We've just wrapped up the new album from Agadez wedding band Etran de L'Aïr. Recorded in 2014, and featured previously here on the blog, it's been a long time coming. Even longer, if you consider the history of the band. The music scene in Agadez is still dominated by weddings.…
Etran de L’Aïr – No. 1
I first wrote about Dire Straits popularity in the Sahara back in 2009 and later advised for an article in Africa is a Country. Though I've found lots of mp3s of "Sultans of Swing" on cellphone memory cards, and old cassettes buried in record stores, this was the extent of…
Dire Straits in the Sahara