Music of the Sahel Nomads – Etran Finatawa (Niger)

Termin: March 18th, 6.00 p. m.

Etran Finatawa („The stars of tradition“) is one of the most established musical ensembles of Niger, whose members belong to the nomadic tribes of the Tuareg and the Fulbe (French: Peul). Niger is inhabited by eleven different ethnic groups, stock farmers and tillers, nomadic and sedentary tribes. The Tuareg and the Fulbe are among the nomadic peoples, part of whom even today move through the Sahel savannah with their herds of cattle or goats, always in search of water and pasture land.

Although the country today ranges among the poorest of the world, in terms of culture it is one of the richest of the African continent. For centuries, it has been a place where the Arabic-dominated cultures of Northern Africa cross paths with those of sub-Saharan Africa.

The musicians lead their audience on a journey to the vast, fascinating realms of Sahel. Full of respect for its cultural tradition, they praise the beauty of its women, the desert landscape and the animals which form the basis of life. Their songs speak of happy days, of rites and celebrations, but also of draughts that threaten their herds and of the many changes in their lives. For the ever expanding desert changes the ancient social structures in Niger at breathtaking pace.

Etran Finatawa instrumentalize the polyphonic songs using guitars and traditional percussion. The penetrating Tuareg drum tendé and hand-clapping set the rhythm. The lyrics are in Tamasheck, the language of the Tuareg and Fulfulde. The musicians wear the typical traditional garments: indigo blue turbans for the Tuareg, while the Fulbe nomads wear richly embroidered tunics and make-up.

Alhousseini Mohamed Anivolla: guitar
Bammo Agonla: vocals, akaywère
Mamane Tankari: azakalabou (calabash)
Goumar Abdouljamil: tendé, drums
Bagui Bouga: calabash