Les Filles de Illighadad

Sunday
29
Sep

Celebratory African Village Music

Groundbreaking Tuareg Musicians

 

Why you should see this show….

In the tiny Nigerian scrubland village of Illighadad, a woman named Fatou Seidi Ghali snuck away with her brother’s guitar, taught herself how to play and, in the process created a hypnotizing blend of driving rhythms, dreamy guitar, and enchanting polyphonic vocals sung in the Tuareg language. By merging the timeless tradition of tende with the sonic possibilities of guitar, the music of Les Filles de Illighadad make a striking generational leap from the ancestral sounds of their rural community, reverberating into the 21st century.
 

Les Filles de Illighadad Bio
Les Filles de Illighadad come from a secluded commune in central Niger, far off in the scrubland deserts at the edge of the Sahara. The village is only accessible via a grueling drive through the open desert and there is little infrastructure, no electricity or running water. But what the nomadic zone lacks in material wealth it makes up for deep and strong identity and tradition. The surrounding countryside supports hundreds of pastoral families, living with and among their herds, as their families have done for centuries.

It takes its name from a drum, built from a goat skin stretched across a mortar and pestle. Like the environs, tende music is a testament to wealth in simplicity, with sparse compositions built from a few elements: vocals, handclaps, and percussion. Songs speak of the village, of love, and of praise for ancestors. It’s a music form dominated by women. Collective and communal, tende is tradition for all the young girls of the nomad camps – played during celebrations and to pass the time during the late nights of the rainy season.

In the past years, certain genres of Tuareg music have become popular in the West. International acts of “desert blues” like Tinariwen, Bombino, and Mdou Moctar are synonymous with the name “Tuareg,” but guitar music is a recent creation. In the 1970s young Tuareg men living in exile in Libya and Algeria discovered the guitar. Lacking any female vocalists to perform tende, they began to play the guitar to mimic this sound, replacing water drums with plastic jerrycans and substituting a guitar drone for the vocal call and response. The exiled eventually traveled home and brought the guitar music with them. In time, this new guitar sound came to eclipse the tende, especially in the urban centers. If tende is a music that for women, the Tuareg guitar was its gendered counterpart.

Fatou Seidi Ghali, lead vocalist and performer of Les Filles de Illighadad is one of the only Tuareg female guitarists in Niger. Sneaking away with her older brother’s guitar, she taught herself to play. While Fatou’s role as the first female Tuareg guitarist is groundbreaking, it is just as interesting for her musical direction. In a place where gender norms have created two divergent musics, Fatou and Les Filles de Illighadad are reasserting the role of tende in Tuareg guitar. In lieu of the djembe or the drum kit, Les Filles de Illighadad incorporate the traditional drum and the pounding calabash, half buried in water. The forgotten inspiration of Tuareg guitar, they are reclaiming its importance in the genre and reclaiming the music of tende.

 

Dining Option

Purchase of a ticket to a show in the Supper Club ensures you will have a seat for the concert. However, if you intend to dine before or during the performance, you also need to make a dining reservation. To make a dining reservation, click here or call our Box Office at (216) 242-1250. Click here to see Rusty Anchor menu.

If you are attending a concert in the Supper Club with a party of two or more, please have one person make a reservation for the whole group to ensure you are seated together. If you are attending with a party of eight or more, you must call the Box Office to make your reservation at (216) 242-1250.

To better serve all our customers, we require that you arrive on time for your dining reservation. Arriving more than 15 minutes after your reserved time will result in the cancellation of your reservation. You will be seated for the concert, but you may be put on a waiting list for dining.

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