Spend an exceptional evening with two iconic “desert blues” bands. Terakaft and Doueh are your guides, with their hypnotic mix of rock, blues and traditional Tuareg music from the Western Sahara.
Did you know that the ancestral music of the Saharawi people shares many of the same characteristics with the blues? A stripped down rhythmic framework, a narrative, the same melodic modes, strings and themes like love, war and the human condition. This is not really such a surprise as the desert bluesmen express the harsh life they lead in this desert but not deserted region.
The Sahara, which extends from Morocco to the banks of the Senegal River, lies at the crossroads of Arab-Berber and Central African cultures, of sedentary and nomadic people, such as the Tuareg and the Sahrawis. The caravans and trade contributed to the development of a vast musical landscape, with vocal music and shared rhythms. Nowadays, the legacy is more fragmented, due to regional conflicts. In spite of these difficulties, Sahara Blues focuses on artistic creation in the Sahara as a whole. Starting with two groups, who embody the “desert blues”, known as “Assouf” (melancholy) in Tamasheq, the language of the Tuaregs.
Terakaft (caravan), a band that hails from Northern Mali, marvellously conveys the hypnotic and rhythmic dimension of the Sahrawi blues. Terakaft, which originated in the dream of Tuareg independence, is made up of Kedhou Ag Ossad, the vocalist and composer, Diara, a guitarist and composer, and Sanou Ag Ahmed, a bass player. Their most recent album, Ténéré, which dates from 2015, pays tribute to the infectious energy of the Tuareg blues. Doueh has that same trademark intensity. The group from Dakhla, a city in the Western Sahara, has a powerful sound, mixing the traditional Hassani repertory (of Yemeni Arabi origin) with pop, folk, and the blues. Doueh recently released Dakhla Sahara Session, an album it recorded with the French underground garage-rock band Cheveu. An interesting mix with an astonishing result, “a sound clash between two worlds that are light years away from each other in the music galaxy”, an extraordinary tension between trance and contemplation.
“An electric guitarist who uses Western tonality as well as more traditional modes, he creates a sound that cuts through the mass of voices and drums around him" (The New York Times - 2007)
“Combines Western high-tech with earthy African roots in perfect calibration” (The MET)