Friday, 19 February 2016


I went to an excellent show last night at the Rich Mix in Shoreditch. Top of the bill was Terakaft, the Tuareg blues band from Mali formed by two former members of Tinariwen. For touring purposes they are joined by a young French rhythm session, and the four of them treated us to ninety minutes of loping grooves which were guaranteed to put a smile on your face (as long as you don't understand the lyrics, many of which are apparently about the dire political situation in Mali).

The support act, Tuvan singer Sainkho Namtchylak, was pretty marvellous too. The Tuvans, like the Turaeg, are a traditionally nomadic people, in their case hailing from what is modern day southern Siberia/ northern Mongolia, and are known for a style of throat singing called "khoomei". Sainkho started out as a khoomei singer but over the course of her long career has experimented with all sorts of weird and wacky styles. On her most recent album, "Like a Bird or Spirit, Not a Face", she was backed by the Terakaft boys, as she was last night.

Here are two tracks from Terakaft - one from their current album "Alone" and one from "Aratan n Azawad" - and one from Sainkho Namtchylak. This is not from the collaborative effort but from an earlier album called "Seven Songs For Tuva", but listening to it you can hear how their styles might work together.

"Amidinin Senta Aneflas" - Terakaft

"Idiya Idohena" - Terakaft

"Mogeler Dugajinda Iri" - Sainkho Namtchylak

The only minor disappointment about the whole evening was that Terakaft did not attempt a cover of this traditional Saharan classic.


  1. I hope this lot (Terakaft) are invited over here for our world music festival.

  2. Listening to that 3rd track it really reminds me of something else, an americana track that I'm pretty sure I have, and CC will also have.....

    1. Me too, but I can't quite put my finger on it. The opening section sounds like a slightly wonky version of "Amazing Grace"

    2. It reminds me of Nirvana's cover of Where did you sleep last night!!! It's taken me two hours to get that.