The man in black.

An enigmatic figure materializes one day in Kidal. He's dressed all in black and wears a tall cap of dreadlocks, lugging his baggage and a guitar case. After a few days off wandering through town, he begins to sing in the street, accompanied by an old broken steel guitar. Later…

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Videos from Saharan Cellphones

I've written briefly about cellular phones in West Africa. As ubiquitous media devices, they are perhaps most used in sharing and exchange of files, particularly bluetooth transfers of mp3s. While in Kidal I collected memory cards from cellphones and copied loads of mp3s -- ranging from Tamashek guitar, Algerian Rai,…

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find your quiet place

There is something immediately compelling about drumming in the night. Perhaps it's the stark contrast, the deep thumps resounding through the otherwise hushed darkness. The sound is fueled by the fires of exoticism, the drums hidden by both the darkness and the night, suggesting something ritualistic, sacred, and above all,…

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Sahelsounds, the promo cd

A little compilation of recordings from the site, for downloadable and listening pleasure. Bismillah. 01 - teyti announces issawat 02 - abba - ishumar guitar 03 - girl and mother - na hawa doumbia 04 - alkibar gignor - ali farka homage 05 - tidiane - fanta 06 - sahl…

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Year of the Toyota Land Cruiser (Y.T.L.C.)

Historically, musicologists lacked the capability to record audio. Songs were transcribed either in Western musical notation or some peculiar form of transcription. Both forms suffered from inevitable selection bias as to what was or was not recorded (or able to be recorded in the confines of the transcription method, which…

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