Psychedelic Saharan blues trio from Niger via Brussels
“Proof there’s no such thing as too much good desert blues” – Songlines
“Arguably, the most rock-influenced of all the Tamashek sets to have come out of the Sahara this century” – Mojo
The Brussels band Kel Assouf is back with a second album “Tikounen” that shakes the Tuareg scene. Their heavy rock sound – reminding us of Led Zeppelin and Queens of the Stone Age – mixed with African trance rhythms transfers you to a dancefloor somewhere between London and Niamey.
Kel Assouf – which means both “nostalgia” and “son of eternity” in Tamashek, the language of the Sahara nomads – has built its identity around two central ideas, the promotion of Tuareg culture and the fight against discrimination.
With the new album, “Tikounen” (surprise), Kel Assouf expresses feelings of perplexity and rage towards a world in which war, injustice and pollution are omnipresent. With one foot in the dessert and the other in Europe, Anana Harouna, leader of the band, sings about the Sahara, Niger and Brussels, using short phrases similar to Japanese haiku, spreading a message of peace and respect.
In 2006 the group gathered around exiled Nigerian musician Anana Harouna. After the album “Tin Hinane” (Igloomondo 2010), Anana started working with Tunisian producer and musician Sofyann Ben Youssef (Bargou08) creating a distinctive tradi-modern sound – some call it a hyper-modern sound – that is both heavy and hypnotic. The new formation is further composed of bass player Mat Mirol, drummer Olivier Penu and singer Toulou Kiki, leading actress in Abderrahmane Sissako’s film “Timbuktu”, who enriches the band with a vital female element typical of the Tuareg culture.
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