Up the Downstair

Being a weeklie podcaste from Madison, Wisconsin featuring several remarkable curiosities therein occurring being a compendium of live music from divers artistes

Show #283: Noura Mint Seymali

January 16th, 2016

nms Show #283: Noura Mint Seymali
(Photo by Roland Owsnitzki.)

Last autumn I received an email out of the blue from an old friend. I’ve written about him previously as he and I aided and abetted his decent into Genesis madness back in the mid-80s. This led to the pair of us starting to collect bootlegs, the fruits of this hobby being realized decades later at this very blog. While our initial emails includes tales of just where we are in our lives these days, music has been the subject of the bulk of our correspondence.

In one email he noted that he was heavily into world music and singled out Noura Mint Seymali as his current favorite world artist. “She has a funky band put together by an American drummer,” my friend noted. I found some videos of her on YouTube and was immediately impressed by the funky back beats and Seymali’s voice.

She hails from Mauritania and, quite frankly, I am uniquely unqualified to discuss Mauritanian music. What I can say with some degree of certainty is that her band here consists of her husband Jeiche Ould Chighaly on guitar, bassist Ousmane TourĂ©, and that American drummer, Matthew Tinari. Because of the instrumentation, the music is easy on Western ears. Chighaly processes his guitar sound most of the time – sounds like a phase pedal or something similar to my ears – which gives it a sound that is a bit psychedelic and a bit exotic or non-Western.

I’m sure there is someone out there who can discourse on Seymali’s music and singing styles, on how they combine various North African traditions and so on. That person is most definitely not me. Just listen because this is a fantastic show.

This concert was recorded at Kantine Berghain in Berlin on 19 August 2015 and broadcast on the radio so the fidelity here is quite good.

Ya Demb
El Madi
El Mougelmen
El Barmmin

Download show

Noura Mint Seymali

This is the video that got me hooked. It’s “Tzenni”, the title track of her most recent album, and was recorded at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, NY on 29 April 2015.

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