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

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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.

El Wali
Tiris

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. 
  • Label(s):
  • Sahel Sounds

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.

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. 

Luka Productions
Falaw

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.

Mdou Moctar
Ilana (The Creator)

Mdou Moctar has been a staple of the Sahel Sounds roster for several years now, but his fervid brand of Tuareg guitar music never tires us no matter how many times we hear it. Ilana (The Creator) is also Moctar’s first studio LP recorded with a live band, a factor that gives these charismatic desert blues numbers additional bite. Yet again Sahel Sounds have knocked it out the park.

Hama
Houmeissa

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. 

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.

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.

Troupe Ecole Tudu
Oyiwane

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.