Songhoy Blues is a desert blues music group from Timbuktu, Mali. The band was formed in Bamako after being forced to leave their homes during the civil conflict and the imposition of Sharia law. The band released its debut album, Music in Exile, via Transgressive Records on February 23, 2015, while Julian Casablancas' Cult Records partnered with Atlantic Records to release the album in North America in March 2015. The group is one of the principal subjects of the documentary film They Will Have To Kill Us First. In 2012, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) took control of the north of Mali. In turn, they were pushed out by Ansar Dine, a jihadist group which banned cigarettes, alcohol and music. Garba Touré, a guitarist from Diré, near Timbuktu, was forced to leave, and moved to Bamako, the country's capital, in the south. Together with Aliou Touré and Oumar Touré, they formed a band "... to recreate that lost ambience of the north and make all the refugees relive those northern songs." The three of them, unrelated despite having the same surname, are Songhoy people. The name of the band comes from their ethnicity and the genre of music they play, 'desert blues'.Wikipedia
You know this is the shit I’m here for
Clearly inspired by the late, great Ali Farka Touré, Songhoy Blues brings the same unstoppable energy to their music that made Ali so influential. "Music in Exile" is powerful and moving in a way that modern American blues so often isn't. The electric tones of Muddy Waters and Albert King find whole new dimensions when they're shaped and guided by the unexpected rhythms and patterns of Malian music. It's a whole vibe and I couldn't be more here for it. I don't understand a word that's being said and I don't care. This is just so damn good.
vibrant music from Mali, swinging and righteous
I used to get a lot of mileage out of "Soubour" in my spinning classes. I like the driving beat and bluesy, guitar-up-front sound, as well as the fact they all sing. The song-writing is good. They stick to their style but the songs vary enough to keep it interesting. I only listened to it once, so I'll assume I would have liked it even more second time round.
Desert blues, you say? Also known as Tishoumaren, you say? Tishoumaren , which is based on a french word meaning 'Unemployed', you say? EXILES YOU SAY? Five stars, I say.
Something about African rock always excites me—these distant cousins just sound right together. This record really succeeds in incorporating western influences in a natural way, on top of the Malian Blues that’s already an exciting hybrid. There is also a lot of variety here, from the rock focused Soubor to the Ali Farka Toure influenced Wayei to the acoustic Petit Metier. Musicianship is great, vocals are great. Plus the record is an act of defiance against repression and religious fundamentalism, so what more could you ask for?
Musically this was great, and I am sure based on the wiki that this tells a great story, however partly due to the language barrier it wasn't for me
This is an absolutely stellar album. A while back on this list, I get Savane by Ali Farka Touré, and this album reminded me a lot of that, which makes sense as they were influenced by him. It's really cool to see people from all over the world pick up American Blues Rock and make it their own. The guitar work on the album is incredible, both intricate and filled with emotion. I've been lamenting recently that I've been getting a lot of albums that are cool and significant, but aren't worthy of 5 stars on first listen. This album cured that. I loved the sound of it from the beginning of the first song, and every song after that was great, and then the album ended and I was sad 5/5
This is something I would never have been aware of but for this project. The mix of “desert blues” and rock is remarkable, I absolutely love it! I was drawn to this immediately and each listen opens up more of this to me. The guitars are amazing. Reading the backstory of the group it is amazing how joyful music about dislocation and trauma can be. So glad to have encountered this!
This is by far the best non-English language album I’ve gotten on this list so far. It’s exactly my type of blues rock and every song is a banger from start to finish but especially soubour and petit metier. Even if I can’t understand I can feel the political message through the music and that’s just the icing on the cake for a great album; would kill to hear it live. Also, this has been a great run of albums the past week or two
These guys know how to play! Too often the blues can be boring, but these guys know how to tear it up. The language barrier is detrimental unfortunately. It’s not their fault, but I am the one doing the ranking. So the lack of my understanding the words prevents me from truly understanding the whole package. One thing I did pick up on is that the lyrics were often repetitive. From a not knowing the language point of view, I think the repetition would be more of a negative if I did know the language. One last comment on the fuckers who ran these guys out of their homeland. What kind of asshole do you have to be to not realize what a treasure their music is? This part of their story bumps them up a 1/2 star.
This was a nice album, reminded me a bit of Power of One. Not sure why it's on this list but glad it is just for the variety and it not being a british rock band.
Yeah, I loved this - could happily listen to Mali's desert blues all day! Super interesting to hear fragments of rock n roll picked up and woven into their own tradition. Fave track - "Soubour" is a great opener. "Wayei" for something on the chiller side...
this is belting. they're all called toure or dembele so they're probably fucking mint at football too. does this mean i'm a world music guy now? man i'm old. what time is giles peterson on?
Only need to hear the first 2 songs to see that I was going to enjoy this album. Amazing discovery!!!
Great album. It's rare that I fall in love with something on the first listen, but this did it for me!
Ah, this was brilliant. So laid-back and enjoyable.
Oddly catchy and enjoyable. I liked the album and would listen again.
Another hidden gem, this was great.
I didn't hate it you know. A bit like that Chesterfield Middlesbrough Fa Cup semi final in 1997.
After a week of receiving dubious albums this was a nice surprise. I'm a big fan of music from Mali but there's no delicate string sounds of the Kora here, this is predominantly pretty heavy blues infused electric guitar. Wiki shows that they started out covering Ali Farka Toure, but despite having the same surname there isn't any relation. I guess Toure is the Smith of Mali. I shake my head when I read that many folks dismissed this album because they don't understand the lyrics. I guess they're also the same folks that also don't watch foreign flicks with subtitles. Oh well, their loss, they're missing out on some pretty soulful and glorious music.
An early example of the safe bet desert blues a sizeable swathe of music crit publications still have an appetite for. Distinctly Saharan sans any especially peculiar instruments or tones, and, crucially, containing nothing to threaten sacred ideas of what constitutes rock and pop. Not knocking the group, just the framework for sticking them in the pantheon. This is nice. Try the Dakhla Sahara Session from Cheveu and Group Doueh from roughly the same time for a more incendiary and politically-charged example of the same kind of music.
Incredible music, love this
Not sure how many others could say this and mean it, but I'm a big fan of the Timbuktu music scene. I'm serious! Ali Farka Touré, an amazing guitar player, is also from the Timbuktu region. He got his university degree in Music from Timbuk U. (OK that's a joke.) It doesn't say if Songhoy Blues guitarist Garba Touré is related to Ali Farka Touré. He's not related to the other Touré's in the band so perhaps it's a coincidence. I like how the band has refreshed the dessert blues sound that Ali Farka Touré and others introduced outside of Mali. They have modernized the sound but kept the traditional guitar licks and style and also play the n'goni - a stringed instrument that marries so well with the guitar licks.
Great African Blues!
Didn't understand the words at all, but sonically, it was cool.
Rhythms, Tones, Layering. Expertly done.
Never heard of this album or, indeed, the band before. I loved it. Track 2 especially (which is now permanently on my MP3 player). Absolutely phenomenal musicians - top class. am currently investigating if they still gig - i'd say when they play live, they'd bring the house down.
This entire album was a breath of fresh air. The music is fantastic and vibrant, and their voices are so soothing. African rhythms skillfully mixed with traditional blues.
Songhoy Blues - refugees from Mali due to religious (Islamic) extremist group Ansar Dine. Interesting album, really enjoyed it. The different styles of blues and rock shined through. Soulful song Mali, I don't know the language but the intent seeps through.
Always a trip to see things I thought of as "obscure" pop up here. I like the West African sound, but when more traditional, it tends to all run together. This album does a great job of marrying the structure and modality (?) with traditional western blues rock.
What a discovery this is. Played this non-stop during a whole working day. Beautiful rhythm, the voices combine perfectly. Happy to be in this 1001 albums adventure
Blues muy bueno que no pierde su esencia africana. Combina el blues clásico con ritmos de muchas percusiones y pese a no haber buscado el significado de las letras lo disfruté mucho. Imprescindible leer la historia del grupo.
Really loved this album. I have no idea what they’re singing about but the grooves and players are so sick and the arranging is great. The drums and guitar really remind me of early chess blues and junior kimbrough. Al Hasidic terei - cool triple groove Sekou oumarou- sweet guitars Ai tchere bele- reaaally sick guitar grooves
This was rad. Tribal blues rock, yes please. I thoroughly enjoyed this when it came out and glad I was reminded of its awesomeness.
Old School rock'n roll met Malinese zang. Top!
tight as fuck bro 9/10
Amazing African Blues album.
Wonderful. Improved my day.
If not for this listening project, would I have ever been introduced to this album...I suspect not. So glad that I didn't miss this opportunity!! I will admit that it kind of got repetitive sounding to me, but not enough to mark it down.
Saharan shredders unite.
Amazing, so original, I haven't heard something that intrigues me like this in a very long time.
Zalig album. De blues, de samenzang, traditionele Afrikaanse sound. Toffe ontdekking
This was good company today, perfect for walking about and well deserving of decent headphones. The record quality and tone of the instruments is superb. Beautiful.
Didn't know what to expect. Pleasantly surprised. Was good to work to.
Loved it. Ambience. Blues. Guitar. No matter what language.
40 minutes of some damn good grooves. Best track: Soubour
This album begins with straight electric blues and shifts over the course of the album to for Malinese influenced music. In a very real way, this album represents a full circle moment; here we see an African influenced American genre turn into something new in the hands of Africans. It truly revitalizes the blues in a way that is very difficult to do. The result is astounding. The title of the album alludes to the fact that Songhoy Blues is a band in exile, and may be making some of the truest blues music out there.
How have I never heard this album before?! This was incredible from start to finish; I actually listened to the entire album twice in a row because I loved it so much. While listening the second time, I also looked up the story behind the album and the translated lyrics, and that made me fall even more in love with it. Amazing album, one I know will be in my regular rotation from here on out. I will definitely be checking out the rest of Songhoy Blues' albums. Standout Tracks: "Soubour," "Irganda," "Sekou Oumarou," "Jolie"
best thing julian casablancas ever did
Is desert blues the best music genre I never knew existed????? Banger after banger. Great songs, not a bad track in there. Really groovy, I’ve saved the whole thing to my Spotify. No-skip album. Fav tracks: Soubour, Wayei, Irganda, Al Hassidi Terei, basically all of them ngl Least fav: Mali (but it’s still good)
Disco molto piacevole e godibilissimo. Un ottimo ascolto.
Enjoyed it. Cool bluesy music, well made
Desert blues. Muy interesante!
Toutes les accusations de racisme portées à mon encontre sont infondées
Genre: Songhai Music 4/5 Part-tribal, part-Black Keys, Songhoy Blues is an interesting world music fusion that I did not know I needed until I put it on the stereo. While I was first rather impressed at this book including such an album, but upon research you'll soon find that there's a western mind behind the boards, Nick Zinner, guitarist for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. He does a great job of getting the best out of these boys, whether it's a ballad or a heavy rocker. The vocals and percussion are all fairly tribal, but the added electric guitar layers prove a worthy addition to the age-old Songhai formula. Some great examples are the rocker, Ai Tchere Bele, where it rides its one chord all the way to the end, with near-experimental arpeggios behind it all. The slow and sweet, acoustic finisher, Mali, does a great job wrapping it all up sonically. Way better than I had anticipated, and will certainly stick around in the rotation. Best blues album I've listened to so far in this exercise!
Pop Afro grooves, energetic and hypnotic. And a fantastic live band too.
I've only been exposed to a little Malian and Tuareg "desert blues," but I've enjoyed the style every time and "Music in Exile" is more of the same great mixture of guitar and African rhythms and percussion. The story behind this group and album is powerful too, fleeing extremists in northern Mali who banned music and keeping their traditional sounds alive first in Bamako and later in the US and the UK, working with Julian Casablancas of the Strokes, Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz, and opening for Alabama Shakes and performing at Austin City Limits. I might have to go check out the documentary they are featured in, "They Will Have to Kill Us First."
Good quality music
A very pleasant album with rolling grooves and plenty of nifty guitar work. The songs are a bit repetitive which mostly works but now and again the songs outstay their welcome. As I've said before, one of the problems of non-English singing I have no idea what the songs are about. On the whole though, was a really enjoyable album.
Entretenido, diferente. Tranquilo
Great music but language barrier makes it difficult to listen to easily
gott shit, sofnaði harkalega við hlustun numer 1 og eg set hana kannski aftur i gang braðum við svipaðar aðstæður, liked it a lot
Definitely a unique genre, first time hearing anything from desert blues. Should check out the pioneering artist as well.
Great surprise. First track was a banger.
A great blues album with some great licks
I love desert blues. I love it when it is relatively unpolished, and they are just settling into the groove and bashing ti out. After this played, some more produced later material and remixes appeared, and they did not do it for me. But I can totally lock into the groove of what they are playing here. Dig it!
There’s more authenticity on this single LP than all of last year’s Top 40 releases combined. While not breaking any new ground musically, Songhoy are playing directly from the heart with all the chops needed to back it up. Exceedingly rare to hear music made simply for expressions sake, and though this may be ‘just’ a blues-inspired rock album it’s a damn good listen when all is said and done.
Really enjoyed the beats in this album even if I couldnt understand the lyrics. I wasn't sure how to describe the kind of music until I read the Wikipedia and they called it "desert blues," which really fits. Knowing their story makes the music all the more impactful. Great album.
Nisam očekivo ovo s coverom, super haahahah
Kakav cover, čudo. Ja sjedim, lijevo je Ivan ili desno ili zapravo on sjedi jer nemaju baš kose, a ja sam onaj iza, naslonjen, a ostatak si sami popunite. Rekao bih Tomi i Zvono, ali ono, može i Anita i Jura. ne vjerujte coveru što se tiče glazbe.
Really enjoyed this. I wish I could follow / understand the lyrics, but really enjoyed the mood and energy of this throughout. Will definitely play again.
Also highly recommend Mdou Moctar if you like this stuff!
This is really excellent. Great mix of the energetic and the laid back, with some solid guitar work. Loved it. Fave Songs: Sekou Oumarou, Petit Metier, Desert Melodie, Weyei, Jolie, Nick, Soubour
Great work, generator. Not only is this the perfect soundtrack for while I’m in Africa (not Mali, but still); I also listened to it just the other day. I’ll happily listen to it again though. The seductive grooves, guitar riffs and group vocals are a delight. A very enjoyable and evocative listen, even if I can’t understand the words.
vraiment bien aimé. C'est certain qu'il y a une influence Talkin' timbuktu de Ali farka toure et Ry cooder, même si il se dissocie un peu avec le son plus groové blues. 4
Great guitars, interesting back-story, lovely voice. No clue what the lyrics are, but I'm sure they're great too.
Pleasant, light desert blues album with a fascinating story behind it. Music by Songhoy Blues feels pure and has harmonies not affected by Old World's school. A surprise, but a welcome one.
A blues/folk/rock/word music band. I actually like it.
A great listen.
Blues with Mali heritage mixed with 60s rock influences. What a great surprise and listen!
I probably wouldn't listen to this again but it was really good
Really good rockin' blues.
Not the album I expected at all. Absolutely superb. The guitar playing is exceptional.
Onaj zadnji je još bolji. Poslušaj
I liked hearing how an American genre of music was translated to another continent and sung in a different language. Though I did not understand the lyrics, the music underneath was unquestionably the blues.
Pretty sure I've heard this before while looking into African music on Spotify. I also recommend Mdou Moctar to anyone who enjoyed this. Language barrier? I don't care! I just like the way their voices and guitars sound. The singer could be hexing my entire family for all I know. Look at that cover. These guys are better than you and they know it. Four outta five.
Really cool album! Not a band I'm familiar with, but I was often reminded of Mdou Moctar's Afrique Victime from a couple years ago. Definitely a similar desert rock vibe, although this one veers into more traditional rock and roll style sometimes, which is interesting. Overall a great project to throw on and lose track of time. I always enjoy getting something on this list that isn't from America or England. Favorite tracks: Al Hassidi Terei, Ai Tchere Bele, Petit Metier. Album art: Just a few guys hanging out, as most bands begin. The text is nice, but it's a very simple cover. 4/5
This was great.
KUL med något som inte är från väst! Även om det är tråkigt att det ska krävas en expedition från Damon Albarn, en signering med Julian Casablancas bolag, och en plats i en antologi till 99% fylld med västerländsk musik innan det når mig. Men, tacksam är jag ändå! För, Songhoy Blues från Bamako, Mali, är otroliga! En mix av klassisk rock, blues, och (säkert) traditionella västafrikanska sounds som jag kan för lite om för att göra någon sorts djupare kommentar. Bra är det. RIVSTARTAR med 'Soubour' (vars tunga riffs bitvis för mina tankar till Pattis 'Ain't it Strange') och fortsätter i samma höga tempo med härliga 'Irganda'. På spår tre höjs nivån ytterligare, och 'Al Hassidi Terei' har fantastiska 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)'-vibbar i de långsammare partierna. Bredvid de tre öppningslåtarna är 'Petit Metier' det bästa på albumet. Lite ömmare, lättare, akustiskarareare, och vakcrare. Bästa låt: Petit Metier.