Etran de L’Aïr – Agadez

Fans of Mdou Moctar and Les Filles de Illighadad are sure to become obsessed with Etran de L’Aïr’s latest album, Agadez.

Known for being one of the top wedding bands throughout the Agadez region of Niger, Etran de L’Aïr plays an especially hypnotic and rollicking form of Tuareg music, and has been for over 20 years.

However, unlike some of the other recent big names to come out of the world of Saharan rock, this band tends to lean more towards a blend of traditional African styles and sounds, instead of borrowing heavily from Western music. This gives the group an especially colorful palette of rhythms, percussion and melodies to draw from as they jam.

Just check out “Nak Deranine,” for example. While the effects and production might resemble what you might hear on an acid rock LP from America, the beats and trance-inducing grooves feel more akin to tracks by the likes of Ali Farka Touré and Damien Aziwa. As stated in the album’s liner notes, Etran de L’Aïr strive to make their music a cultural melting pot to reflect the diverse influences that exist within the cultural crossroads that is the city of Agadez. Being hired to play weddings in such an ethnically heterogeneous area, it must be impossible for groups like this one to be anything but a sponge that soaks up as many different musical traditions as possible.

With soaring harmony vocals, rapid fire drum fills and scalding guitar solos that coil and slither like fierce cobras, this upbeat record will light up your day like a brilliant sunrise.

Click here to get your copy on vinyl, CD or digital from Sahel Sounds today.


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Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

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