Free People : Tuareg Sounds of the Sahara
Africa O-Ye! is pleased to present a very special episode: “Free People: Toureg Sounds of Sahara” We’ve had the privilege of spending some extraodinary time with the masterful “Desert Blues” songwriter Kildjate Moussa Albade and his insightful cousin Ibrahim Mohamedine, drinking tea and making friends in the process. Moussa and Ibrahim both hail from the Azawagh regions of northeastern Niger, and strongly identify with their Tuareg roots; a historically nomadic people of Berber descent who have made their homees throughout the eastern Sahara and Sahel of North Africa for centuries. Moussa is an accomplished songwriter & musician who has travelled the world playing with Group Bombino and who's now beginning to do the same with his own band, Tisdass. He played some incredible music for us here in the KBOO studio, all songs written in the the Toureg’s own Tamachek language.
We took a moment to talk with them about the Tuareg people, their culture, politics and fights for independence. In the 1980’s, the Tuareg trained to fight in South Libya, but along with their guns, they brought back guitars. In the years since, their struggle for autonomy in their vast cross-border homeland has moved to Northern Mali, becoming yet another flashpoint of conflict, and in which the guitar, now closely identified with Tuareg musical identity, thanks largely to the band Tinariwen, has itself become a symbolic weapon of solidarity. As Tuareg groups like Tinariwen, Bombino, & Terakaft have been touring, recording international acclaim for over a decade now, some reviewers have begun calling their sound “desert blues," though for the Tuareg it’s just called "Issouwat" ("music").