Thoroughly groovesome West African big band
Like that of its next-door neighbour Mali, the music of Niger draws from the many ethnic groups found within its modern-day boundaries, in particular – as with Mali – the powder-dry blues of the Touareg and that liquid, guitar-led West African sound that draws from the ancient Songhai Empire. Both styles are to the fore in the sound of Tal National, a multi-membered outfit who, superstars at home, now demand the rest of the world take notice. But they keep you guessing, too. As the New York Times adroitly noted, “the music keeps leaping ahead with one surprise after another: guitar parts that align and diverge and reconfigure, drumming that pounces on offbeats”. This is very much a band not doing it by numbers, but by picking their own distinct path through venerable traditions to create something effortlessly fresh and innovative. We’re all ears.
Click here to listen to Tal National on the Discover WOMAD 2018 playlist on Spotify.