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Songhoy Blues @ Slim's 

Wednesday, Mar 30 2016

You don't have to know what Malian music sounds like or even be a fan of world music to like Songhoy Blues. You just have to like guitar. The formation story of Songhoy Blues, which released its debut album Music In Exile on Atlantic Records last February, could easily be made into a movie (and has been: it's one of the main stories told in the documentary They Will Have To Kill Us First about Malian music in exile). In 2012, the jihadist group Ansar Dine took control of north Mali and instituted a ban on cigarettes, alcohol, and music. Three musicians, all ethnic Songhoys — Garbe Touré, Aliou Touré, and Oumar Touré, who, despite the surname shared with legend Farka Touré, are unrelated — fled their hometowns and relocated to Bamako, the country's capital in the south, where they met and decided to form a band, adding drummer Nathanael Dembélé to the mix. They began playing shows at local venues that ended up attracting not only fellow Songhoy, but other northern and southern ethnicities. After passing an informal audition, the band was introduced to Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner, who co-produced their debut album. Since then, they've performed with Julian Casablancas and Damon Albarn, and played a number of international music festivals, like Glastonbury Festival, Bonnaroo Festival, and Latitude Festival.


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Jessie Schiewe


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