Rough Guide to the Music of the Sahara

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music of the sahara
This new release is one of the best albums of desert music. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Rough Guides music has just released a terrific new album that showcases the music of the Sahara, the vast stretch of heat and sand that stretches all the way from the Atlantic to the Red Sea. The album title is The Rough Guide to the Music of the Sahara.

There is the blues-tinged music from Mali, Mauretania and Western Sahara, the catchy groove of  Niger, Egypt and Sudan. There is even a great track from Libya, a beleaguered North African country not known for its music.

Artists include Etran Finatawa (Niger), Mariem Hassan (Western Sahara), Malian artists Samba Touré, Djimé Sissoko & Djama Djigui. Sudanese musicians include Salamat, Abdel Gadir Salim & Emmanuel Jal. There are also some raw field recordings from Tuareg and Wodaabe Women.

Like other Rough Guides, this is a two-CD set. The first disc is a collection of Sahara music, the second disc features a single artist, in this case the Niger musician Mamane Barka.

There have been other albums devoted to the Sahara and the Sahel, but this is one of the best.  I highly recommend it. Click below to get a sample.

While this video features music not on the album, the imagery showcases the stunning beauty of the Sahara Desert.