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Boomkat Product Review:
Facsimile, 60th anniversary reissue of a classic number from the important Smithsonian Folkways Recordings archive
Performed by Tuareg musicians of the Southern Sahara, and recorded by Finola and Geoffrey Holiday, this LP effectively offers a window into this region of the world whose music has become widely recognised in recent years thanks to the fiery Tuareg rock and folk releases of Bombino, Mdou Moctar, Tinariwen, and Les Filles de Illighadad.
While this side may be shy of the electric guitars that would become super popular in the region (it is 1960 after all, and they were only popularised in the US during the ‘50s), the ecstatic voices and wry, bluesy folk strings on show surely sound the roots of Tuareg rock to come. The gnawing tone of thud of ‘Azel au N Kel Owi (Imzhad Solo)’ is a prime example of their gripping instrumental prowess, while the plangent peal of ‘Song of the Enaden’ just sounds shockingly and transcendently ancient in a way that hasn’t yet been Americanised or Europeanised, and is all the better for it. Likewise the lilting cadence of ‘Hunting Song’ with its incidental sounds of crying babies and fits of giggles feels like we’re right there, in a smoky tent rapt by the nomads’ magic. Add in the sloshing claps, drums and chants of ‘Ilougan’ and the unabashed joy of the two weddings songs and it’s easy to hear why this side was picked to reboot the label’s vinyl pressings.
For ears what wander!