Doors 7.30pm | Tickets £15.50 | OTD £17.50
Mali’s celebrated stars of the desert blues genre and one of Africa’s most successful musical exports.
That contrast between their homeland and the rest of the world, and how Mali is perceived, forms the core of Songhoy Blues’ thrilling new album, Résistance, one that combines elements of reggae (Voter) and even country (Hometown) with their blistering, compelling West African rock music – they are often described as “desert blues”, but they are far more than that. Because make no mistake, Songhoy Blues do not make “world music”. As Aliou puts it: “We find it very hard to describe the kind of music we make. Some tracks, when you listen to the new album, they sound really, really rock. Some tracks sound blues. Some tracks sound folk. To us, world music doesn’t make sense. It’s an industry thing. African artists play rock as well, they play blues as well. Blues is from there, rock is from there, reggae is from there, hip-hop is from there. So how come people call African music world music? Why not African rock or African hip-hop or African reggae?”
Songhoy Blues were formed in 2012, when three musicians from northern Mali – Aliou, Garba Touré and Oumar Touré (they are not related) – fled to the capital, Bamako, after the Islamist group Ansar Dine took control of the region, banning music among many other things. The three met in Bamako, recruited drummer Nathanael Dembelé, and a band began. “The band was born from war and sent into exile,” Aliou says, “so the second album is called Résistance, That’s the word to describe us keeping going, and building on what we said on the first album.”
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