From the sub-Saharan area of Niger comes Group Inerane, music born out of the Tuareg Rebellion. There's a certain amount of apparent contradiction as the rebellion in question (the First Tuareg Rebellion of 1990-1995) was directed against Western colonialism, so the prominent use of electric guitars might raise an eyebrow. But as actually utilized, the instruments sound very much like koras and doussngounis (hunting guitars) traditionally played in the area. More, they're embedded into rhythms and singing that will be very familiar to listeners at all knowledgeable about West and Central African music; indeed the kind of shuffle rhythm often heard here was used by Bengt Berger in his westernization of Nigerian music in the Bitter Funeral Beer band.
Also, one gets the sense that these songs are far more oriented toward communal concerns and by no means are meant as subjects of abstract contemplation. These are rallying songs, motivational pieces meant to inspire a people. Given that, they're still, by and large, extremely enjoyable to simply wallow in, the guitars weaving repetitive, hypnotic patterns, the buzzing percussion providing a surprisingly light push and the call and response vocals (generally, women answering men) work beautifully together. And once in a while, as on the song "Nadan al Kazawnin", they transcend time and place totally, the seams coming almost entirely unbound in ecstatic release; a blindfolded listener might mistake some sections for prime, late 60s Beefheart! The recording quality is often sketchy but that actually adds to the atmosphere, as though it was done surreptitiously and secreted out of Niger for our benefit.
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