01/07/2022Berlin's Onom Agemo Team Up With Mali's Ahmed Ag Kaedy On Desert Blues-Inspired New Album

This is not the first time that Berlin five-piece Onom Agemo & The Disco Jumpers and Malian Tuareg singer, guitarist and songwriter Ahmed Ag Kaedy (Amanar de Kidal) embark on a unique musical exploration of Saharan blues rock fused with layered, jazzy psychedelic krautfunk. In fact, their first collaboration resulted in the 2018-released two-track single "Onin Okalan" (transl. 'realization'), revealing an unusual musical chemistry and a foundation to build on. Today, marks the release of their first full-length on Agogo Records and it is nothing short of extraordinary. 

Recorded in Berlin and Bamako between 2018 and 2020, "Tartit" (transl. 'unity') presents six tracks, based on existing compositions by Ahmed Ag Kaedy and enhanced by the unyielding imagination of band leader Johannes Schleiermacher (saxophone, flute, synthesizer) and his able outfit, adding their creative touches to the inspired and intriguingly unconventional mix. While Ag Kaedy's throaty lyrics and desertous guitar riffs take center stage, Onom Agemo's soaring, multifaceted accompaniment delivers lush grooves, unexpected colouration and sudden instrumental flourishes. 

"Our motivation was and is a shared enthusiasm about music," Schleiermacher points out. "Ahmed's pieces open up musical spaces that are hypnotic through their repetitiveness, though never static." It is within this gorgeous dichotomy of earth and space that the magic happens, spurred on by a mutual desire for freedom, one stemming from a past marred by political turmoil, instability and repression, the other motivated by a drive for artistic independence and uninhibited expression. As such, "Tartit" demands a concentrated listen, but is equally quick to set the mind afloat.

You can stream the full album via the player below and watch a short feature on Ahmed Ag Kaedy's personal history, including the pivotal moment he decided to exchange his gun for a guitar. Onom Agemo and Ahmed Ag Kaedy are currently touring Germany, Switzerland and Denmark.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom