Music from Saharan WhatsApp – Various Artists

Through the use of WhatsApp, Sahel Sounds has documented some of the best performers from throughout the Saharan region of the last few years. This record is a collection of the most raw and magnetic of those recordings.

Two years ago, the label founded a project called Music from Saharan WhatsApp, which featured immediate digital releases of music recorded by artists from a vast range of genres and styles, recorded live straight to their phones. These recordings were then sent via the popular messaging app to Sahel Sounds, who would then offer the new music for a temporary time on Bandcamp as a way to give money directly to the musicians involved.

This LP is an outstanding ‘best of’ compilation of that material, including meditative acoustic pieces by artists like Amaria Hamadaler of Les Filles de Illighadad, dreamy psychedelic Tuareg jams by Etran de L’air and a slamming example of red-hot desert blues by Mali artist Alkibar Jr.

In a way, this record is like a modern day Lomax field recording collection. It preserves the sounds and traditions of the expansive array of cultures within the Sahel that existed in the first year of the pandemic. Yet, what makes this record better than any Lomax comp, is the artists involved received every cent earned from the sales of their music (as it should be).

Often joyous, spellbinding and always enlightening, Music from Saharan WhatsApp is an absolutely essential record for any fan of the Sahel Sounds label. Click here to get your copy on vinyl or digital 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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