A great double-header of desert blues comes to Los Angeles on Saturday, March 5th. I’m worried it may have flown under the radar of many fans here and elsewhere as I’m sure this must be a U.S. tour.
Noura Mint Seymali is from Mauretania, which, along with Mali and Niger, is the birthplace of the blues. I first saw her at the Skirball Cultural Center a couple of summers ago, and she was electrifying. Even more than being just deep blues shouts and cries, the music propels you along with a massive groove, even an out-of-body experience.
Seymali was born to a prominent line of Moorish griots — the traditional story-tellers and oral historians of West Africa. She began her training at 13 years of age with her stepmother, the legendary Dimi Mint Abba. I have always featured Dimi Mint Abba in my music salons, pairing her song “Yar Allahoo” with Robert Johnson’s “Preaching Blues”. The two amazing songs fit together like hand and glove, and show an unmistakable historical and musical connection. Seymali is part of this connection. Her band provides perfect support for her vocal urgency and power of her singing.
Both groups, similar to top Malian artists, defy the turmoil of Sahel nations caused by Islamist intervention and conflict. The music is buoyant and joyous.
Here is a youtube clip of Noura Mint Seymali, at NYC’s Summer Stage on the same 2014 tour that brought her to the Skirball. Check out the lead guitarist who accompanies her:
….and here is a short clip of Tal National:
The link for UCLA tickets:
And, finally, other lucky cities on the current tour: