Relentless, loud guitars and stunning rhythmical complexity
Tal National is a band from Niamey, the capital city of Niger. 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. 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. Their concert material combines original songs with new arrangements of West African folk songs, themes of which deal with love, tolerance, peace and feminine beauty.
“The music is colorful and bright and dizzying. It recalls the energy and wall-of-sound quality of Konono No 1, except more frenzied and texturally varied… Tal National’s ability to weave together all these thematic and musical elements with unflagging speed and energy is breathtaking.” – Pitchfork
“ it’s downright miraculous how the songs mesh: guitar licks, hopscotching bass lines, cymbal offbeats and talking drums all land with microscopic precision and can reconfigure in an instant” – The New York Times
“Tal National continue to widen their global appeal with their blistering new album…built on a combination of relentless, loud guitars and stunning rhythmical complexity… an album rich in personality and sparkling colour” – Future Music
“…the sound of a group without obvious peer – one has to look back at the golden age of the west African guitar bands to find this level of complexity executed with such brazen confidence and ability” – Wire