Music From Saharan WhatsApp

Sahel Sounds Releases First EP Of New Monthly Music Series From West African Sahel

Christopher Kirkley's Sahel Sounds imprint (Mdou Moctar, Les Filles de Illighadad, Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla) jumpstarts 2020 with its catchy new "Music from Saharan WhatsApp" series: "Every month, we'll be releasing an EP from a musical group in the Sahel. Every album will be recorded on a cellphone, and transmitted over WhatsApp, and uploaded to Bandcamp - where it will live for one month only. Available for pay as you want, 100% of the sales will go directly to the artist or group. After one month, the album will be replaced by another one, until the end of the year."

First off is Etran de L'Aïr (which translates to 'Stars of the Aïr', a mountainous region in Northern Niger), a group hailing from Agadez that established itself as a wedding band, playing three guitars simultaneously, "pushing their instruments to the extreme, soloing over one another and creating a dreamy cacophony of sound." Originally the band formed back in 1995 by Aghaly Migi. Owning only one acoustic guitar, "the rhythm section was a calabash floating in water 'hit with a sandal, to make a drum'." With time, however, the group evolved, instruments were added and their size now fluctuates between five to nine members, depending on the occasion. 

This three-piece session was recorded in their home in Abala. "We invited friends over to the home, for encouragement," says guitarist/vocalist Moussa "Abindi" Ibra. "But we asked them not to make too much noise, for the sake of the recording." You can stream/buy the full release below. 

Musicians on this recording are:
Moussa Ibra (guitar/vocals)
Abdourahamane Ibrahim Tahilo (guitar/vocals)
Abdoulaye Ibrahim (rhythm guitar/vocals)
Rhissa Ibrahim (djembe/vocals)