RIYL: Tinariwen, Son House, Human Skab|
Incredible, hypnotic field recordings from the Sahel region in Niger. Everything is played on handmade (if any) instruments, in rural settings, often communal gatherings, with a particular focus on animistic rituals of the Hausa. It’s a great opportunity to pull our heads out of our "modern" asses and appreciate how people anywhere will make music out of anything, regardless of scarcity. Recorded over the past decade, the region has been completely screwed by the civil war in Mali, with extreme shari’a law imposing a ban on music, so needless to say this is a priceless treasure.
Artist field contains the corresponding ethnic group, but don’t read back plainly as “[song] by [artist]”
1. (4:22) Two gourmi (three-stringed calabash lute) and talking drum, a raspy-throated song praising the beauty of Fulani women.
2. (4:22) Somber, dissonant chanting, apparently a welcome song/dance of the Fulani people.
3. (2:33) Court music of the Hausa sultan—braying kakaki trumpets, ram’s horn flutes, drums, ecstatic ululations. (Fun fact: kakaki trumpets can reach up to 9ft in length!)
4. (3:07) Hausa possession ceremony, a one-stringed goje fiddle, thumping percussion, chanting.
5. *(1:47) Entrancing talking-drums and khalam (ancestor of the banjo), an instrumental welcome to the village.
6. (3:00) Two gourmi and a singer praising God and a hard work ethic.
7. (1:06) Drums and vocals accompany young male dancers in a ceremonial flirtation with the village girls.
8. (5:16) A griot (drifter poet-bards, oral historians) sings a praise song with a more percussive khalam.
9. *(3:51) Deep, raw desert blues, electric guitar and proto-banjo display the common ancestry between John Lee Hooker and Tinariwen.
10. *(4:08) Holy shit. A female lead singer accompanies herself with a drum while a male chorus provides a backing drone. Utterly trance-inducing.
11. (2:02) Another possession ceremony. The goje performs the dialogue between medium and spirit (no vocals here, just fiddling).
12. (2:24) Young girls clapping, laughing and singing in a circle, sure beats “ring around the rosie” to these ears.
13. *(4:27) A two-stringed lute accompanies an impassioned praise singer.
14. (1:49) Second half of track 2
15. (2:28) Two gourmi players praising the local chief for his financial generosity.
16. (3:18) More Hausa praise music for local authorities, spirits, and instruments.
17. (6:59) Electric wedding music, energetic vocals muffled by crowd noise and shoddy mic quality.
18. *(2:57) Amazing electrified folk music, scorching guitar with pounding drums and a group of female singers.