Tal National is a six-piece band from Niamey, the capital city of Niger, West Africa’s largest nation and one of the world’s poorest. Although they are hugely popular in their homeland where their music is heavily featured on national TV, they can still be found selling their CDs on the street. Their joyously hypnotic and highly unique music reflects the rich history of Niger as a cultural crossroads along ancient trade routes. One can hear the reverbations of the rolling 12/8 rhythms in the Hausa’s Fuji percussion, the pensive aridity of the Tuareg’s “desert blues”, and the exquisite “griot guitar” of Mali’s Songhai. These African roots sounds are all delivered with virtuoso precision and a driving, energetic immediacy that typifies the sound of nightlife in a modern African city. Their live performances combines original songs with new arrangements of West African folk songs, themes of which deal with love, tolerance, peace and feminine beauty.
“The music keeps leading ahead with one surprise after another: guitar parts that align and diverge and reconfigure, drumming that pounces on offbeats. The patterns are crisp, complex, and tireless, but Tal National is no funk machine: It’s alive.” — NY Times