Les Filles de Illighadad
December 27, 2017 6:33 PM   Subscribe

"Fatou Seidi Ghali is a pioneer of guitar in West Africa. She lives in Illighadad, a small scrubland village in the desert country of Central Niger, located outside of the Tahoua region—and she is one of only two known Tuareg women guitarists in Niger." [http://sheshredsmag.com] posted by Buntix (19 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
h/t & via this pic of them by Laurent Orseau whose work I rediscovered after discovereing there's actually a support group for ex altphotos.com members.
posted by Buntix at 6:41 PM on December 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

In the first YouTube link: the percussionist is beating some kind of semi-deflated (athletic?) ball, that's floating in a tub of water (it's clearly visible at 3:25). Is that, like, a thing? It makes a satisfyingly solid sound.

Anyway, I rather like this stuff. Thanks for sharing!
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:02 PM on December 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

(Ah, the percussion is the same in all of the videos. Carry on.)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:03 PM on December 27, 2017

Les Filles de Illighadad
Les Filles de Illighadad
Les Filles de Illighadad
Prospero Ano y Felicidad 🎵
posted by oulipian at 7:09 PM on December 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

it is an awesome sound.
posted by Buntix at 7:22 PM on December 27, 2017

Is that, like, a thing?

If it sounds good, it is good
posted by thelonius at 8:07 PM on December 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I love everything about this. Thanks for posting.
posted by talking leaf at 8:09 PM on December 27, 2017

I love Tuareg guitar music. As the British DJ Andy Kershaw once said of Tinariwen: "Plenty of bands know how to rock. These guys really know how to roll."
posted by Paul Slade at 1:03 AM on December 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Interesting to see her older brother, who brought home the guitar that she fell in love with, playing with them, veiled - to see the complex Touareg gender balance at work.
posted by progosk at 1:37 AM on December 28, 2017

(Errata corrige, on rereading TFA: it's her cousin Madassane that's playing with them - still, same point.)
posted by progosk at 1:43 AM on December 28, 2017

YES! Touareg music is one of my absolute favorite genres, and she does indeed shred.
posted by capricorn at 6:40 AM on December 28, 2017

Album released by Sahel Sounds an incredible source of contemporary and reissued from the region.

previously on metafilter

And a spotify playlist I made as a primer to Sahel Sounds recordings if you wish to seek more...
posted by shaqlvaney at 7:25 AM on December 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

Went to see Les Filles de Illighadad in Montreal earlier this year. A good show, but almost unsettling... The musicians seemed to barely want to acknowledge the crowd, and the crowd's curiosity (including my own) seemed as much anthropological as musical. I wasn't quite sure who was taking advantage of whom, but it definitely didn't feel like a normal concert experience. I left feeling a little crummy.
posted by Marquis at 7:39 AM on December 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

The Wodaabe even take it a step further and use a calabash floating on a water (Azakalabo in fulfulde).

Ah! And it turns out that "calabash water drum" is a good phrase to Google, if you're looking for more info about this. So it is, in fact, a thing.

If it sounds good, it is good

Of course. I was just curious whether it was a widespread and recognized instrument, or the percussionist's own invention.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 10:38 AM on December 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thank you for sharing this!!
posted by solotoro at 11:05 AM on December 28, 2017

Really lovely, thanks for the post. She is a proper artist. Love being told about the social context and how all the women and girls and related men gather round to sing and clap, and how she wishes there were more women guitarists so as to have more people to make music with. She says her parents were anxious to marry her off young, did they do so? I'd love to know more.

I'm fascinated by their styling while playing in Utrecht. It's a very elegant, classic, vintage look, toned down and made more sober for a European audience. Vintage like would have been up to the minute sharp in the 70's informed by a hint of Negritude and Roots sensibility. I guess the dresses are cotton damask super-loaded with indigo and beaten to make it glossy, with tailored accents. Her earrings are made of mounted gold sovereigns. It's ages since I've seen those. I wonder what they cost now? I wonder how many there are circulating the Sahel in the form of jewellery, and how long they have been circulating for? When the naira was equal in value to pound sterling people used to buy sovereigns and take them to a goldsmith to be set, but I think it's a Northern (Northern West Africa) thing.

The calabash in water percussion is also a Hausa and Fulani thing. I don't know much about Touareg culture apart from the men being veiled and the women not. They come down into Nigeria during times of drought, where, as refugees, they are not all that welcome. There's a lot of prejudice against Touareg people.
posted by glasseyes at 3:01 PM on December 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Why did so many Tuareg (male or female) start playing the guitar in the first place? This article from a few years ago (mentioned in passing, previously) says it's because of Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:46 PM on December 28, 2017

Thank you so much for this post! I've been listening to Tuareg music since the summer, when I heard of the adaptation of Purple Rain starring Mdou Moctar, Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai. Right after that, I had the chance to see him perform at Comet Ping Pong in DC. I'd ordered the DVD from some guy out in Oregon, and got the case autographed. The other threads linked here then made me realize I ordered that disk from metafilter's own iamck -- his name is on my PayPal receipt. I've been following Les Filles de Illighadad on facebook and really want them to come to the US.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:27 AM on December 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

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