When we first discovered Les Filles De Illighadad back in 2016 it wasn’t directly with their self-titled album released in February that year, but by seeing them live at the Le Guess Who? festival in Utrecht. The first show we sas was so beautiful, we ended up seeing them again in the same edition of the festival, with the second time being as beautiful as the first. Jumping forward to the fall of 2019, the collective from Niger performed for the first time in New York over two nights of sold-out shows which form the basis of the upcoming «At Pioneer Works» album. Below, find «Subajo», the first song of the upcoming live recording.
As the press release explains, “Les Filles de Illighadad comes from the village of Illighadad in a remote region of central Niger. Like many of the villages in the area, its borders are loosely defined, owing to the largely pastoral population.” The band was founded in 2016 “by solo guitarist Fatou Seidi Ghali and renowned vocalist Alamnou Akrouni. In 2017 they were joined by Amaria Hamadalher, a force on the Agadez guitar scene, and Abdoulaye Madassane, rhythm guitarist and a son of Illighadad.” The text goes one to explain that their “music draws from two distinct styles of regional sound, ancient village choral chants and desert guitar. The result is a groundbreaking new direction for Tuareg folk music and a sound that resonates far outside of their village.” Case in point, listen to «Telilit», the third song of the album, below.
It is worth citing Christopher Kirkley last paragraph from the aforementioned press release: “there’s something bittersweet that it’s the sound of Illighadad that has propelled Les Filles’ to travel so far and so often. Playing on a stage 5000 miles from home, their performance evokes the village with a heavy ever-present nostalgia. In singing the songs of Illighadad, Les Filles’ invite the audience to share in the remembrance, to hear the poetry and driving tende, to stumble out into a night lit by a faint moon, joining in chants that carry over the nomad camps, in a call to come together and sing under the stars.” Finally, you can watch the official video from the album’s closing song, «Irriganan», below.
«At Pioneer Works» is set for releaseon July 9 through Sahel Sounds on cd, digital, and vinyl formats, whose pre-orders can be found here.