Tuareg Guitar

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.

amanar remix

The remix competition for Amanar's Tenere is completed. Big ups to the eight musicians/producers for their work on the stems. Very excited for the resulting tracks which all went in very different directions. You can download all the remixes at (mediafire) or listen below: El-Mahdy Jr. Remix (link) E3 Remix…

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808s & heartbreak

Mdou Moctar - La Super Everything that he had earned in Libya, he gave to his mother. He had nothing left. He asked her for his old guitar that he had left there in his absence, sitting abandoned in the corner. He put on new strings and took it out…

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field recordings of starlight

We arrive in TchinTabaradene at sunset. It's a calm village, one of the innumerable places throughout West Africa and the "under" developed world, places that lie off the paved roads and power grids, their physical isolation a stalwart against the creeping homogenization of a single world. Between here and the…

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Amanar, Remixed

Amanar, the modern guitar Tuareg band from Northern Mali has been featured frequently on this site (1, 2) and numerous vinyl compilations. Their 2008 sessions, recorded locally in Kidal, are high energy guitar pop. While inspired by the preceding repertoire of guitar music, the album marked a departure from the…

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Mdou Moctar, Desert Warrior

Just finished up the new music video for Mdou Moctar's "Anar" (previously) - inspired by the lovelorn ballad using a pastiche of footage from the 1984 film "Tuareg - The Desert Warrior," an Italian Spaghetti "Western". The video is also available in 3GP format, the preferred video format for cellphones…

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the last recordings of gao

In February of 2012, I visited Gao. The rebellion had just begun and every day the bus station was flooded with refugees from Kidal, climbing out of the cramped cars, carrying everything in bulging plastic sacks. Many came here to the city by the river for safety while the situation…

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