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by World Music Network January 16, 2013


Etran Finatawa - Desert Recording Finished!

Riverboat Record's recording artists Etran Finatawa have finished recording their brand new album on location in the deserts of their Niger homeland. The album will be released in summer 2013 on Riverboat Records. 

Etran Finatawa combine the rich nomadic cultures of the Tuareg and Wodaabe people from the West African country of Niger – a region that for thousands of years has served as a crossroads between the Arabs of North Africa and the sub-Saharan traditions. Etran Finatawa blend traditional instruments with electric guitars, combining the polyphonic songs of the Wodaabe people with modern arrangements, transporting you to the Sahara with their evocative sound. They have released three albums on Riverboat Records already, and their fourth promises to set the world music scene alight once more. Tent

This time they recorded the album under an animal skin tent in the blazing Saharan desert, the sound bounced and reflected perfectly against the taut hide creating a unique acoustic. The group stayed in the desert for three days recording their music, alongisde impromptu improvisations with local musicians and children. 

The album reflects Etran Finatawa's very real concerns about the political situation in Mali where Islamists militants are now in control of a large swathe of the country, imposing harsh restrictions on music and art along their way. The matter is poignant for members of Etran Finatawa who are of Touareg and Wodaabe ethnicities. Both peoples traditionally inhabit affected areas that are now under or severely threateened by rebel control. The Touareg traditionally inhabit the Sahara and Sahel regions of Libya, Algeria, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali. The Wodaabe are from many of the same regions and stretch through to northeastern Cameroon and the western reigion of the Central African Republic. The album isn't joyful then, but a cry for help and disappointment at the disintegration of such rich, wonderful and diverse cultures from West Africa. 

Keep up to date with our website for more news, audio and pictures of the recording process to come. Etran Finatawa are also invovled in organising the forthcoming Festival In The Desert ... In Exile programme - check back here soon for more information. 

Click on the albums below for more info and sound clips: