Musical diversity in the landlocked West African country Niger
Ethnic diversity influences and determines musical events in the desert regions along the Niger River, which also gave the country its name. Whether Hausa, Songhai, Tuareg, Wodaabe / Fulbe, Toubou, Gurma or Boudouma, they all look back on a long tradition. Music groups such as Etran Finatawa, which consists of Wodaabe and Tuareg musicians, keep their heritage alive in their music and, together with Tuareg bands and artists from the regions around Agadez, such as Tidawt, Toumast, Les Filles de Illighadad or Bombino, contribute to making their sometimes rocking music known far beyond the borders of the country and the continent.
Tidawt – Live auf dem Africa Festival 2003 / Photo © Bugs Steffen
The group Tidawt was founded in 1996 in Agadez. It plays traditional as well as modern Tuareg music from Niger. The group’s mission is to preserve and make known the richness of Tuareg culture. In their songs, which they complement with traditional musical instruments and dances, they sing of love, morality, courage and the cohesion of the Tuareg. The group played in Europe for the first time at the 15th International Africa Festival in 2003. Here you can hear the original recording from the festival.
Omara “Bombino” Moctar, a young Tuareg guitarist and songwriter from Agadez, Niger, was raised during an era of armed struggles for independence and violent suppression by government forces. The spirit of resistance and rebellion comes through in his mesmerizing music.