Les Filles de Illighadad with Smithsonian Folkways DJs
The female Tuareg group Les Filles de Illighadad from Niger features Fatou Seidi Ghali, a pioneer of guitar in West Africa. She lives in Illighadad, a small scrubland village in the desert country of Central Niger, located outside of the Tahoua regionand she is one of only two known Tuareg women guitarists in Niger.
The Tuareg society, a nomadic people living throughout the Sahara, are known for their tendea style of music and the mortar drum playedand their traditional folk guitar playing. Tuareg guitar has gained notoriety locally in the Sahara and internationally due in part to Tinariwen, a band from Mali that won a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album for their 2011 release, Tassili.
While women have historically been musicians in Tuareg societydespite their limited social mobility outside of the homeguitars have primarily been played by men. For a woman to play a guitar, or even sing songs with a guitar, is really exciting for a lot of people. Ghali and Akrouni also perform tende, which refers to the drum, the style of playing, the rhythm, and the events in which it takes place, such as curing ceremonies, evening entertainment, camel festivals, dance traditions, and other special occasions. The tende drum is created out of a mortar and pestles with goat skin stretched over top. The two pestles are leaned against the side of the mortar, parallel to the ground, and a woman sits on each side of the pestles like chairs, stretching the goat skin over the mortar to create a drum. It is a communal form of music in which participants sing, recite poetry, dance, and clap along to the drum.
Les Filles de Illighadad perform songs in which they bridge the world of tende and guitar playing. In the fall of 2019, Les Filles de Illighadad will make their premier tour across the United States for a month. They will be joined by a third woman who plays tende, as well as Ahmoudou Madassane from Mdou Moctars band who will act as their manager and translator. The three women have not spent much time outside of their villagesome have been to Niamey, the capital of Niger, but otherwise they have not traveled far. They have released two sublime recordings from rural Niger on the Sahel Sounds label of dreamy Tuareg acoustic guitar music and the hypnotic polyphonic tende that inspires it.
With special guests Smithsonian Folkways DJs playing vinyl records from the diverse and extensive Folkways catalog.
Wild Days Rooftop Bar at Eaton DC (View)
1201 K St. NW
Washington , DC 20005
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