On December 1st, Bristol SU is excited to be hosting a live performance of Songhoy Blues and their new smash-hit album ‘Resistance’.
Songhoy Blues, consisting of Garba Touré; Aliou Touré; Oumar Touré; Nathanael Dembélé, is not your everyday band. They did not start off with the occasional jamming session in a band member’s garage. In fact, their roots are in Timbuktu, Mali, and their origin can trace itself back alongside a story which includes the imposition of Sharia Law and a consequent civil conflict. Like I said, not your everyday band.
In 2012, a jihadist group, Ansar Dine, took control of the North of Mali and in turn, a law which banned cigarettes, alcohol and, crucially, music, was imposed upon its people, including the guitarist, and soon to be member of Songhoy Blues, Garba Touré. ‘Even though I don't smoke or drink, I love the guitar’ thought Touré, 'This isn't the moment to hang around. I have to go south’. Touré indeed did go South, alongside future band members Aliou Touré and Oumar Touré, and thus, free from the risk of persecution and equipped with a love of music, the desert blues music group began. The name ‘Songhoy Blues’, was inspired from the band members’ ethnicity as well as the genre of music that they play - which is desert blues.
In 2013, the band auditioned for Africa Express and was successful. This lead to their introduction to Nick Zinner, the American guitarist of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who they collaborated with to record the highly successful song Soubour. The group then returned for a second collaboration with Zinner to release their critically acclaimed debut album Music in Exile in 2015.
The album, ‘Resistance’, is described by the Guardian reviewer Robin Denselow as ‘influenced by desert blues and traditional songhai styles’. However, the album shows something different within these styles by ‘tight, attacking riffs, jangling funk guitar work and the addition of brass and keyboards.’ Out of five stars, the album received four stars from Denselow, who’s been following the band and their developments ever since he saw them perform in a bar in North London just over two years ago.
Since 2015, the group appeared in numerous well-known music festivals such as Glastonbury Festival, Bonnaroo Festival, Latitude Festival, Roskilde Festival, Green Man Festival, Bryonbay Bluesfest.
So, what are you waiting for? Come and experience some ‘desert blues’ yourself on December 1st and get your tickets here.