Monday, January 14, 2008

Toumast- toureg rock

Thanks to the good people at globalFEST, we Gothamites get to sample some of the finest, more interesting and captivating world music around. Whatever 'world music' means nowadays to everyone or anyone, it's still all-inclusive about music from other countries.

In addition to the exciting french jazz group Samarabalouf (think Les Paul meets Django Reinhardt) and the hijinks of Hungarian band Little Cow (a slighter saner version of Gogol Bordello), there was Niger/French band Toumast. Similar to Tinariwen, they're a North African band who believes in using their native tongue plus old-school percussion bubbling under extended guitar rave-up's, courtesy of leader/singer/founder Moussa Ag Keyna. Exciting as it was to see them live, sad to say that singer Aminatou Goumar didn't make it over for the show but they've promised to come back in May with her. In the meantime, you can enjoy their 2007 release Ishumar (Realworld Records).

The term 'ishumar' means 'unemployed' and applies to the Toureg people who struggled to find work as their land and lives where split along the Sahara among Mali, Niger and Bukina Faso, sometimes resulting in bloody conflicts as they fought and struggled for their rights (including Moussa himself) until the 90's when these countries' regimes gave way to democracy. Like many other African musicians, Moussa found support in France where he was able to find a good producer and record this album which, like Tinariwen again, reflects the harsh social conditions and lives of his people.


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