Tal National w/ D.j. Henri
Hailing from Niger in West Africa, Tal National
are one of the most famous and renowned rock bands in the African continent. In this joyously hypnotic, highly unique contribution to West African guitar music, with its lightening fast rhythms and rotating cast of vocalists, can be heard the history of Niger as a cultural crossroads along ancient trade routes fusing Tuareg, Soukous, Hausa, Zama, and Reggae music traditions.Presented in association with Outer Ear Projects.
Tal National are from Niamey, the capital of the land locked West African country of Niger. The band formed has established themselves as the most popular and successful band in Niger. While some other Nigerien bands have made a bigger splash outside of Niger (ie Bombino), within the borders of home – Tal National are the superstars. In this joyously hypnotic, highly unique contribution to West African guitar music, with its lightening fast rhythms and rotating cast of vocalists, can be heard the history of Niger as a cultural crossroads along ancient trade routes. Collected within the former French colony can be found Songhai, Fulani, Hausa, and Tuareg populations, all of whom are represented in Tal National’s members. In the music we hear the rolling 12/8 rhythms in the Hausa’s Fuji percussion, the pensive aridity of the Tuareg’s assouf or “blues,” and the exquisite “griot guitar” of Mali’s Songhai, all delivered with virtuoso precision and unrelenting energy.
On stage Tal National perform with six musicians, but because of their rigorous performance schedule there might be up to thirteen members 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. With the large cast of players, it’s easier to compare the band to a sports team than anything else. Their concert material combines original songs with new arrangements of West African folk songs, themes of which deal with love, tolerance, peace, feminine beauty, and the woman’s physical dance expression based on traditional African rhythms.