Songhoy Blues On World Cafe

Aug 9, 2017

Picture what would happen if Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin met Ali Farka Touré in a garage in West Africa, and you've got an idea of what my guests today sound like. The band is Songhoy Blues. They're from Mali, and their new album is titled Résistance.

I talked with the band's lead singer, Aliou Touré. He is originally from the northern Mali city of Gao, but fled south after Islamist militants and rebels took over parts of northern Mali in 2012, causing a massive political crisis and banning music.

Aliou met his three bandmates (two of whom had also escaped crisis in the north) in Mali's capital city of Bamako. They started playing music together to entertain and comfort their fellow refugees, making their way around Bamako's club circuit. In 2015, they released a debut album as Songhoy Blues, called Music in Exile, and became something of an international sensation.

Songhoy Blues landed slots supporting bands like Alabama Shakes and Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz, as well as festival appearances at Bonaroo and Glastonbury.

Hear Songhoy Blues perform live music off their new album, Résistance, in today's World Cafe session.

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