Boomkat Product Review:
Unmissable compilation of gonzo missives recorded on cellphones during 2020 in the Sahel, Northern Africa, and disseminated by WhatsApp - from heartbreaking Tuareg blues to ambient hymns, boisterous rock jams and hypnotic keyboard sorcery
Starting in January 2020 (B.C.), Sahel Sounds uploaded one release per month (for one month only) from the vast Sahel region that spans Northern Africa, between the Sahara to the north and the Sundanese savannah to the south. Ranging from the balmy melody of Niger’s Etran de L’Aïr, thru the floating beauty of Luka Productions’ synth pads sent from Mali, to Hama’s mesmerising wavey keyboard chops, and the desert blues flare of Veyrouz Mint Seymali, Mauritania’s “Diva of the Desert”; the set is every bit as vital for global observers as Sahel Sounds’ first compilation of ‘Music From Saharan Cellphone’ back in 2011 - perhaps even more crucial as a historic document of how some non-Western communities got on with it during the pandemic.
So, for anyone who was maybe distracted during 2020, this compilation highlights cuts from each monthly release, taking in the lilting griot craft of Bamako, Mali’s Oumou Diabate beside the plugged-in tidnit (Mauritanian lute) tekkerz of Jeich Ould Badu, the brilliantly bashy garage rock drums of Timbuktu’s Alkibar Gignor, and an utterly gripping soul belter by Oyiwane & Troupe Ecole Tudu, beside the aforementioned standout bits of electronic production by Hama and Luka Productions. As real as it gets.