Desert’s Guitars

Moudou ould Mattalla is Chinguetti's most well known musician. Originally from Zourate, on the border with Algeria, he lives in the village and shares his knowledge with whoever is passing through. He released a CD that is sold in France, that was recorded in his home. In his "music room,"…

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Chinguetti; Part One

A small town in the rugged interior of Mauritania, an ancient site renowned for its libraries and a caravan trading town for well over a thousand years.Ambient recordingNearly every night, one can hear a distant drumming and chanting. I stumble out in the dark to discover the source. In a…

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Peul’s Boutique

The Peuls are group of historically pastoral people stretching from the Senegal to Cameroon. But the Pulaar culture in Mauritanian is distinctly that of the Senegalese River that defines the border between the two countries. The music of "le fleuve" has been commercially popularized by Baba Maal, and he has…

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a history of hip hop

It's late night, and the crackling radio is broadcasting a Wolof griot.griotNext, an excerpt from an interview I conducted with a young rapper from Cinquieme. He talks about the obstacles to music, government suppression, lack of resources and financial support for the arts. Following, is an A Capella rap in…

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that old hassaniya sound

One of the premiere music venues in a country that otherwise does little to support the arts is the French Cultural Center(CCF). Aristocrats and expats mingle (is there any difference?) in a distinctively non-Mauritanian ambiance. Noura Mint Seymaly plays a set of "modern" Hassaniya music.Noura Mint Seymaly - modernNoura Mint…

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nouakchott pt. 2

First recording, from a BOB (Brothers of Blood) concert. B.O.B. is a Mauritania hip hop group that now lives in France. They arrived to a screaming crowd at this homecoming gig. B.O.B. Concert Ibrahim Boucoum, Malian guitarist in Sekou's studio does a bit of "griot" improvisation, a "freestyle" (in french).…

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