A primer on the extensive genre of teshumara, or Tuareg guitar. Look back on the articles from the Sahel Sounds archives. Tuareg guitar history, field recordings, albums, and writings. Pulling from over the past decade of travels throughout Mali and Niger.

tales of exile

Ahmed's guitar band Amanar takes their name from the constellation Orion; by virtue of an old story, one of many about a great Tamashek warrior by the same name. As the story goes, Amanar, an grand and imposing figure, accidentally bumped into a woman milking her goats to feed her…

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tahoultine, chopped and skyped

Mdou Moctar (pronounced "M"-"Doh") is from Abalak, Niger. A few years back, he traveled to Sokoto, Nigeria to record an album. A curious feature was addition of Autotune, something the studio engineer suggested. The resulting eight songs, all spaced out Autotuned Tamashek guitar (quite possibly the first time ever) were…

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vinyl of music from saharan cellphones

The official release of "Music from Saharan Cellphones" is now complete! The compilation showcases some of the popular music circulating around the desert: DIY Tuareg Autoune, Balani Show street music, and Ivorian Coupé Décalé. (previously) The LP is a selection of tracks from the first two cassettes. Available now on…

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memory cards for africa

Last year Portland producer Gulls (boomarmnation) put together an incredible remix/edit of Mdou Moctar's track Tahoultine, featured on the "Music from Saharan Cellphones - Vol. 1". Soon after, Boomarmnation began "Music for Saharan Cellphones," a project of remixes and reinterpretations of tracks selected from the cassette: "Drawing on gifted producers…

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gargando mon beau village

The first rains were falling outside Timbouctou. A cold wind carried the bruised clouds over the river and the waving grasses, dampening the scorched ocher of red earth. I remember hearing about Abba, listening to a muffled cassette in Nema, across the border in Mauritania. The rain was also falling…

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kickstarters for vinyl of music from saharan cellphones

The new proverb says "all roads lead to Kickstarter," and I've joined the fray in this latest push -- to bring "Music from Saharan Cellphones" to a vinyl. In a rather ironic twist the musicians whose sounds were found on communication devices are incredibly difficult to locate. Google search algorithms…

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