By the time Tal National reached international acclaim with 2013's 'Kaani', the band's first release outside of Niger, they had spent more than a decade crisscrossing their native country, usually on dirt pathways through the Sahara, playing epic five-hour sets, seven days a week, selling their CDs on street corners and roundabouts. In the process, they became Niger's most popular band, with songs...
Niger borders Nigeria, Mali and Ghana. Collected within this former French colony can be found Songhai, Fulani, Hausa, and Tuareg populations, all of whom are represented in the membership of Tal National. As such, the nation enjoys a greatly varied mix of cultures and ethnicities, all richly steeped in music. It is no stranger to highlife, kora and afrobeat musics, while giving the world Tuareg Blues and a unique brand of hip-hop. In Tal National's music can be heard the rolling 12/8 rhythms in the Hausa's fuji percussion, the pensive aridity of the Tuareg's assouf and the exquisite griot guitar of Mali's Songhai, all delivered with virtuoso precision and unrelenting energy. After listing 'Kaani' in its top 10 albums of 2013, The New York Times wrote that "the music keeps leaping 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."
'Zoy Zoy' was recorded in Niamey, Niger's capital, by Chicago-based producer/engineer Jamie Carter, using a remote recording rig in a dusty makeshift studio. From previous trips to record the band, the logistical kinks had been worked out (for 'Kaani', Carter received three serious electric shocks, but none during the recording of 'Zoy Zoy'). One of the poorest countries in the world, Niger has no proper recording studios, music instrument shops, or record stores. The drummer makes his own sticks. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, Tal National thrives in a country parched of resources but teeming with music and rhythm. In the sessions for this album, the band would record all day, then head out at night for more lengthy performances, bringing the energy of each night's show back to the studio. 'Zoy Zoy' is a distillation of Tal National's traditional roots and tireless drive into pure joy and celebration. The songs are intense yet sophisticated, combining original numbers with new arrangements of West African folk songs, dealing with themes of love, tolerance, peace, feminine beauty and the woman's physical dance expression based on traditional African rhythms. The band speaks French, but use the American expression "very rock and roll" quite seriously, implying their awareness that the loud guitars and bewildering rhythmic complexity separate them from their West African peers. An attentive listener might catch the production ideas of a Western mind nurtured on indie-rock that Carter couldn't help but suggest. Using as a backbone the sound that Tal National breathe - sheer electricity and stunning virtuosity weaving a web of melody and rhythm, the flesh of the album is a response to Tal National's growing stature at home in Niger and their exposure to audiences in other parts of the world.
On stage, Tal National perform with six musicians, but because of their rigorous performance schedule might include up to thirteen members at any one time. At shows, musicians regularly change places midway through songs (including the amazing sight of drummers swapping without missing a beat). On some nights the band might divide to play two gigs simultaneously. The band are touring the USA in support of the album, with UK / European dates to be confirmed.
Tal National In Stock On Vinyl
Tal National Included on Grateful Dead Tribute
Tal National appear alongside a ton of other artists on Day of the Dead, a Grateful Dead tribute compiled by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National. The album is part of the Red Hot AIDS/HIV non-profit series. More info over at Pitchfork.
Tal National appear alongside a ton of other artists on Day of the Dead, a Grateful Dead tribute compiled by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National. The album is part of the Red Hot AIDS/HIV non-profit series.
The project features Dead covers by the National, Wilco, the Flaming Lips, Courtney Barnett, the War on Drugs, Kurt Vile and J Mascis, Jenny Lewis, TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Real Estate, Perfume Genius with Sharon Van Etten, Fucked Up, My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, members of Grizzly Bear, Phosphorescent, Terry Riley and his son Gyan, Stephen Malkmus, Lucinda Williams, Angel Olsen, Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo, Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan, Cass McCombs, Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry, the Band's Garth Hudson, Caroline Shaw, and many others.
More info over at Pitchfork.
Tal National Announce Spring Tour
Tal National are back on the road in the US and EU this spring. Full dates below and if you haven't seen the band live, then this is your chance to experience their mesmerizing shows for yourself.
Tal National are back on the road in the US and EU this spring. Full dates below and if you haven't seen the band live, then this is your chance to experience their mesmerizing shows for yourself. In addition to the tour dates, the band's Daytrotter session is live today. Stream it HERE.
March 5 2016 - Los Angeles, CA - Royce Hall, UCLA - w/ Noura Mint Seymali
March 10 2016 - Albuquerque, NM - The Cooperage
March 11 2016 - El Prado, NM - Taos Mesa Brewing
March 12 2016 - Santa Fe, NM - Skylight
March 15 2016 - Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom w/ Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra
March 25 2016 - Utrecht, Netherlands - Rasa
March 26 2016 - Groningen, Netherlands - Vera
March 29 2016 - Warzaw, Poland - Pardon To Tu
April 1 2016 - The Hague, Netherlands - Korzo
April 2 2016 - Eeklo, Belgium - N9
April 3 2016 - Frankfurt, Germany - Das Bett
April 6 2016 - Stans, Switzerland - Musiktage