Sahel Sounds Vinyl, CD & tapes from this label at Norman Records

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Lingo Seini et son groupe
Musique Hauka

A full-length compilation album capturing the sound of hauka music, the product of a resistance movement that spread in French colonial Africa in the mid-20th century and documented in the 1955 Jean Rouch film Les Maîtres Fous. On Musique Hauka, veteran musician Lingo Seini is joined by his son Yousouf on calabass and Issaka Moulla on kuntigi, recorded on a single microphone in the city of Niamey (capital of Niger). 

Tidiane Thiam

On Siftorde, self-taught Senegalese guitarist, Tidiane Thiam adopts the intricate fingerpicked syncopation used to play the ancient hoddu (four stringed West African banjo type instrument) for the acoustic guitar. The result is a bunch of hazy, reflective folk instrumentals. The album was recorded at night time using one microphone and allowing the atmosphere to inform the music. The title translates into English as Remember,

Ahmed Ag Kaedy
Akaline Kidal

Prior to Akaline Kidal, Ahmed Ag Kaedy had been working with a band for some more filled out recordings. For this album he's gone back to the basics of the Tuareg folk tradition, recording 12 tracks with just his voice and his acoustic guitar. The album is a sombre one, as he reflects on his exile from Northern Mali, and the civil war that drove him out. 

Les Filles de Illighadad
Eghass Malan

Sahel Sounds have uncovered something genuinely original and unique here. The female trio live in a remote Saharan village in Niger and have devised a style combining modern Tuareg guitar with rural tende songs, and new songs in that style. In doing so they’ve matched  traditionally female-sung folk with a modern style that’s usually the sole preserve of men. The band first left their village last year, and recorded this LP during their European tour. Fans of Tinariwen will dig this.

El Wali

Originally released as a CD in the Nineties, to which it got a practically non-existent reception, Tiris captures the sound of El Wali, a Sahrawi band performed a politically sharpened form of folk music. This set was recorded in 1994 in Belgium while the band was on a European tour, and is presented on vinyl for the first time. 

Mammane Sani et Son Orgue
La Musique Électronique du Niger

The wonderful and excellent Sahel Sounds reissue La Musique Électronique du Niger, a 1981 set from Nigerien artist Mammane Sani. These tracks, laid down in a quickfire session on Niger National Radio’s rickety old organ, have become a crucial part in the country’s musical story by the broadcaster subsequently using them as theme music for their shows. Now remastered from the original tapes, these droning compositions make a lot of sense alongside Sahel Sounds’ recent Hama album.

Abdallah Ag Oumbadougou
Anou Malane

You might not know Abdallah Ag Oumbadougou by name, but he is a hugely important figure in modern music. You see, Oumbadougou was one of the first Tuareg guitarists to set his music to record. Taped when Oumbadougou was exiled in Benin in 1995, Anou Malane combines the trilling desert blues guitar style with Oumbadougou’s sonorous vocals and call-to-arms lyrics. The record was produced by Nel Oliver, a solo artist and producer who gives a lively afro-boogie bounce to the drums and bass here. A crucial record, Anou Malane has now been reissued by - who else? - Sahel Sounds.

Luka Productions

Luka Productions is Malian producer, Luka Guindo. Falaw is his follow-up to 2017’s Fasokan. It sees him blending West African hip-hop and folktronica. He also blends the traditional and the modern with African storytellers, or Griots being backed by Luka’s synth work and Ngonis, a traditional stringed instrument, soloing over sampled beats. LP and CD on Sahel Sounds. CD includes two exclusive tracks.


Hama is a Nigerian-based composer and this record genuinely sounds pretty fun. Apparently a mix of 90's synth-pop and 'traditional electronic desert folk', what couldn't be to love? I wasn't even aware that contemporary electronic desert folk was a thing, let alone traditional - we live and we learn. Houmeissa is available on Vinyl LP and CD, and released on Sahel Sounds. 

Tallawit Timbouctou
Hali Diallo

Beloved Sahel Sounds continue their tireless project of supporting and distributing the great variety of local musicians in contemporary West African countries to listeners elsewhere. Here it’s Hali Diallo by Timbuktu trio Tallawit Timbouctou. The album is a single session of tehardine, vocals and upturned gourd percussion fed into homemade microphones and grimy amplifiers - gritty, hypnotic and full of joy.

Ahmoudou Madassane
Zerzura (Original Soundtrack Recording)

The soundtrack to Zerzura, the first every Saharan acid Western. It was composed by Ahmoudou Madassane who also wrote the film and acted in it. Once the film had been shot  recorded the whole soundtrack while watching it giving the music a powerful connection to the footage. He mostly used an electric guitar, playing in the Tuareg folk style.

Troupe Ecole Tudu

If you don’t know Sahel Sounds then now would be a good time to acquaint yourself. The excellent label releases new and archival records that originated across the northern African region of the Sahel. Their latest drop, Troupe Ecole Tudu’s Oyiwane, is a 1985 collection that had previously been unavailable outside of Niger. The TET were an all-girls choir from a school in the country’s Agadez region. With its massed vocals and Ali Farka Toure-esque guitar accompaniment (provided by the girls’ teacher Barmo) this rare record is representative of a style that would become popular in Niger over the subsequent years. The recording is grainy and often shrill, but this is still a vital bit of listening.

Mamman Sani
Unreleased Tapes 1981-1984

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Mdou Moctar
Ilana (The Creator)

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Mdou Moctar
Sousoume Tamachek

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Afous d'Afous

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Gao Rap
Hip Hop from Northern Mali

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Agrim Agadez
Musique Guitare de la République du Niger

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Luka Productions

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Jeich Ould Badu and Ahmedou Ahmed Lewla

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Amadou Binta Konte and Tidiane Thiam
Waande Kadde

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Mamman Sani

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Music from Saharan Cellphones Volume 2

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Pheno S. Kani
Pheno S. Kani

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Mdou Moctar

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