Five years after their debut, as a miracle, the Daughters traveled to Illighadad around the world to spread their desert blues in combination with women. At Pioneer Works, a record with undeniable charm and power, recorded live in Brooklyn, testifies.
A magic, an enchanting energy, woven on a handful of tones, a brilliant meditation inflated by electricity, guitars with circular and infectious songs, irrevocable clapping of the hands, traditional water drums – the tendency – for foundations and foundations … roots … And further this desert landscape, this invitation to travel, the color of sand, the color of the moon, their three mixed voices hover, organic, powerful, to tell their country, their camels, their loves. Suddenly a breath. A silence. Black in the room. The applause erupts.
The third album At Pioneer Works, by Les Filles de Illighadad, perfectly transcribes their little piece of land. Here we are teleported and listen to him, in the heart of their village in Niger, at the gates of a desert, even imagined, even dreamed. And yet.
This record was recorded nearly 10,000 miles from their home in Brooklyn, New York City. And in their tracks flows, with evidence, the fervor of a submissive public. A New Yorker journalist, present during the filming of this live two nights, talks about an audience “fascinated” and “full of reverence”, about a music “that hypnotizes”, “like a prayer”. Evidence that the formula for the Daughters of the Illighadad, through its grace and sincerity, touches the universal and revolts.
In 2017, a year after their debut, in conjunction with the release of their record, in the cold of Paris, Fatou, the group’s leader and founder, confided: “I am happy to send my music all over the world, to make our tradition known everywhere: Tuareg culture. “
A guitar for fate
Since then, in four years, their music has come a long way. We go with Amaria, one of the guitarists, witnessing this journey, via WhatsApp. Today, in Agadez, where she is, the crushing sun shines on the mud houses in her neighborhood.
There, as everywhere on earth, the pandemic has interrupted activities, ceremonies … Surrounded by her entire family, Amaria, today, kills time. Nothing, a priori, was intended to leave this environment. Before 2017, her longest journey had taken her to Niamey, her horizon. A type of wood, a guitar, left in his family village of Goofat, by a brother of his brother, turned upside down on its fate.
Like Fatou from the village of Illighadad, Amaria from Goofat grabs the instrument. After the housework, she lets her fingers run there. Without a teacher or the Internet – so without YouTube tutorial – she scratches, fumbles over settings, chords, listens to songs she likes and listens to cassettes.
A little miracle for her, as for her village and her family, who meet regularly to listen to her games. Mdou Moctar, a mutual friend of Illighadad’s daughters, offers him to join the group. For Amaria, a dream comes true!
She says: “I did not know the other girls at all personally. We met in the corridors of the Niger Embassy in 2017 to make our visas.” And here are Amaria and the others, a few weeks later, jumping on a plane to take on the world, to be far away from their family!
Because of her dubious French, the young woman with impressionistic elements describes her adventure: meeting some of her cousins in Paris, the endless flight to Australia, the kindness of the Americans … And then her love for this island in the Indian Ocean: “Reunion I like it, it looks like my country, Niger. There I saw people like me, I felt at home … “Without forgetting Madrid, their biggest concert. In front of the girls, 8,000 Spaniards clap relentlessly and try to sing their songs, in this language they do not feel.
So, of course, when they toured the world, their songs evolved and welcomed other guitars. And are certainly permeated by the vibrations of the crossed places. Above all, they have also strengthened their base.
And this live, these nights in New York, proves it. The songs from Daughters to Illighadad are muscular, colored by experiences, with life. They impose their charm, their spells … From Illighadad to New York, a small corner of the desert combined with the feminine makes its voice heard.
Illighadad Girls at Pioneer Works (Sahel Sounds) 2021Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Official website