Oct 11 -- San Francisco, CA -- Rickshaw Stop
Oct 12 -- Los Angeles, CA -- Bootleg Bar
Oct 13 - Joshua Tree Music Festival, Joshua Tree CA
Oct 15 - Sahara Lounge, Austin TX
Oct 17 - Martyrs @ the Chicago World Music Festival, Chicago IL
Oct 18 - The Loving Touch, Ferndale MI
Oct 19 - Artisphere, Arlington VA
Oct 20 - Mercury Lounge, New York, NY
Tal National is a band from Niamey, the capital city of Niger, West Africa's largest nation (and one of the world's poorest). Although they are hugely popular in their homeland where their music is heavily featured on Niger national TV, they can still be found selling their CDs on roundabouts in Niamey, since the country has no distribution system. Each year they do national tours, travelling 18,000 kilometres throughout Niger, performing shows in over forty cities.
In their joyously hypnotic, highly unique contribution to West African guitar music can be heard the history of Niger as a cultural crossroads along ancient trade routes. Collected within the borders of the former French colony can be found Songhai, Fulani, Hausa, and Tuareg populations, all of whom are represented in the musicians of Tal National. These different ethnic groups tie Niger closely to the peoples of its more powerful neighbours Nigeria, Mali, Algeria, and Libya. In the band's 'tradi-modern' music the listener can hear strong reverberations of the rolling 12/8 rhythms in the Hausa's Fuji percussion, the pensive aridity of the Tuareg's assouf or "desert blues", and the exquisite "griot guitar" of Mali's Songhai. These African roots sounds are all delivered with virtuoso precision and a driving, energetic immediacy that typifies the sound of nightlife in a modern African city.
On stage Tal National perform with six musicians, but due to their rigorous performance schedule (they play five nights a week for five hours at a time, without breaks) there might be up to thirteen members of the band at any one time. At shows, musicians regularly change places midway through songs (including the amazing sight of drummers swapping without missing a beat). On some nights the band might split up to play two gigs simultaneously. Their material is a combination of original compositions and new arrangements of West African folk songs. The themes dealt with in the songs largely involve love, tolerance, peace, feminine beauty, and the woman's physical dance expression based on traditional African rhythms.
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