Tal National: Zoy Zoy (Fat Cat/Southbound)

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Tal National: Farila
Tal National: Zoy Zoy (Fat Cat/Southbound)

For more than a decade this boisterous and irrepressible band from Niger played their lengthy sets (sometimes up to five hours) well away from the eyes and ears of the world beyond their national borders.

Until the Kaani album a couple of years back when it was impossible not to be swept up by their energy and melting pot of various musical styles from the region.

Among their number -- and they are a revolving door collective of over a dozen players -- they have Tuareg, Hausa, Fulani and Songhai people so they can stretch from mathematically complex music (like an Afro band raised on King Crimson) and thrilling left-field Afro-funk to something akin to Sahara blues.

In places the weave of guitars and percussion here -- not to mention frontman Hamadal Moumine's singing and the answering chorus -- mean it can be hard to get something to hold onto. There is so much going on.

So a tip: just pick a guitar coming out of one speaker (or better, in one ear down your headphones) and hold on for dear life.

There is a lot of finesse here amidst the boiling energy and intensity of their approach but for many it might be hard to take this much musical information coming at you.

Doubtless best enjoyed live -- you can imagine a huge field at a Womad on its feet -- but those willing to take their time and pace themselves with this one will be amply rewarded.  

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Tony Walker - Jul 20, 2015

Thanks for the article on Tal National, Graham.

The vocalist on the track 'Claire' reminds somewhat of Youssou N'Dour.

Might have to get this album.

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