Noura Mint Seymali: The Timbuktu Sessions – Podcast 221

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The mind blowing singer from Mauritania has been on our radio show before and she’s coming to NYC to perform for World Music Institute at (Le) Poisson Rouge Friday, February 24, 2017.

We’ll share our first encounter with Noura Mint Seymali when we recorded her in Timbuktu with her husbandJeiche Ould Chighaly.  It was an intimate acoustic recording with a single microphone.

 We’ll also here a highlight of one of our greatest podcasts ever when we connected next Noura Mint Seymali  in New York City and recorded her and Jeiche with Brooklyn Raga Massive musicians Jay Gandhi and Ehren Hanson.

Noura Mint Seymali, Jay Gandhi, Ehren Hanson and Jeiche Ould Chighaly: Kane Mathis Remaster

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itunes-button1  This was a meeting of musical royalty from Mauritania, vocalist Noura Mint Seymali, with her husband  Jeiche Ould Chighaly on fretless electric guitar collaborating for the first time with Brooklyn Raga Massive’s Jay Gandhi (bansuri flute) and Ehren Hanson (tabla).

It was a spontaneous and beautiful meeting of two musical worlds and very much inspired our whole Africa/India Series.

 

The multi-talented Kane Mathis,  most known for his dazzling kora and oud  (hear him on podcasts #15, #111, #135 and #147) remastered this most popular of our episodes

Kane’s new group with tabla maestra Roshni Samlal Orakel, will perform live for our Africa/India Series this Wednesday, December 16, 2015 at 8pm and ShapeShifter Lab.

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Orakel: Kane Mathis and Roshni Samlal

Orakel is an electro-acoustic project of Kora/oud player, Kane Mathis and tabla player, Roshni Samlal, who began their collaboration at the Brooklyn Raga Massive. Using electronic compositional elements of sound design, field recordings, and drones, they create a new context for traditional elements of Indian classical percussion and Kora repertoire.

 

Robert Browning Opens his Vault – Podcast 133

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Robert Browning, New York City’s most prolific producer of World Music events shares his personal recordings, highlights from his concerts from over the last 30 years.

We’ll hear rare recordings from Abida Parveen of Pakistan, Dimi Mint Abba from Mauritania, Noura Mint Seymali of Mauritania, Said Shanbehzadeh-bagpipe from Bushear Iran a; Village group from Luristan (South West Iran), Hassan Hakmoun of Morocco, Farid Ayaz, Abu Muhammad & Brothers Qawwal  from Pakistan  and a rare recording from India’s master of the Rudra Veena, Ustad Asad Ali Khan.

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Ustad Asad Ali Khan and his cosmic instrument, the rudra veena

Robert Browning has produced over 1,500 concerts of World Music,  including the Musical World of Islam (1993-94, 1995-96) concert series that featured artists such as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Pakistan), Simon Shaheen (Palestine), Sabah Fakhri (Syria), Necdet Yasar (Turkey), Alim Qasimov (Azerbaijan), the Master Musicians of Jajouka (Morocco), Shahram Nazeri (Iran) and Dimi Mint Abba (Mauritania).  The Festival of Greek Music & Dance (2000-2005) which included rembetika music as well as regional styles from throughout mainland Greece and the islands; and the New York Flamenco Festival(2001 – 2011), which featured many of Spain’s greatest musicians and dancers. Artists from Africa and the African diaspora played a major role in his concerts and included Kandia Kouyate, Oumou Sangare and Toumani Diabate (Mali). Ladysmith Black Mambaso (South Africa), Les Ballets Africains  (Guinea) and Los Munequitos de Matanzas (Cuba) and the Skatalites (Jamaica).

His Festival of India featured some of India’s must celebrated classical artists, including Lalgudi Jayraman, Maharajapuram Santhanam, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Shivkumar Sharma, and Zakir Hussain. The festival continued the following year with a concert at Carnegie Hall with some of the finest Rajasthani folk musicians opening for the celebrated sitarist Nikhil Banerjee.

 

Noura Mint Seymali live with Jay Gandhi, Jeiche Ould Chighaly and Ehren Hanson – Podcast 108

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Podcast DownloadNoura Mint Seymali and Jeiche Ould ChighalyFresh from the inspiration of Ragas Live Festival, we tried our hand at a novel combination of styles an instruments.  Mauritania’s greatest singer, Noura Mint Seymali and her husband/guitarist, Jeiche Ould Chighaly performed live in studio with two Brooklyn-based Hindustani musicians Jay Gandhi (bansuri flute) and Ehren Hanson (Tabla).  They met at the ASAMAAN Festival of Music & Astronomy in the Gorée Island – Dakar, Sénégal on April 2013 but had never performed together until this day.

We also got a chance to share a track from Noura’s burning new album Tzenni.

Noura Mint Seymali is a nationally beloved star and one of Mauritania’s foremost musical emissaries.  Born into a prominent line of Moorish griot, Noura began her career at age 13 as a supporting vocalist with her step-mother, the legendary Dimi Mint Abba.  Trained in instrumental technique by her grandmother, Mounina, Noura mastered the ardine, a 9-string harp reserved only for women.  Seymali Ould Ahmed Vall, Noura’s father and namesake, sparked her compositional instincts, himself a seminal scholar figure in Mauritanian music; studying Arab classical music in Iraq, devising the first system for Moorish melodic notation, adapting the national anthem, and composing many works popularized by his wife, Dimi.  Reared in this transitive culture where sounds from across the Sahara, the Magreb, and West Africa coalesce, Noura Mint Seymali currently drives the legacy forward as one of Mauritania’s most adventurous young artists.

Fueled by the exploratory sound of her husband Jeiche Ould Chighaly’s emotive psych guitar lines, Noura and Jeiche formed their first “fusion” band in 2004.  Jeiche, a master of the tidinit (aka. ngoni, xalam), brings the force of yet another important line of Moorish griot to bear, translating the tidinit’s intricate phrasing to a modified electric guitar with heroic effect.  His unique sound, mirroring vocal lines and then refracting their melodies into the either, was born out of years presiding over wedding ceremonies, directing the dance often as the sole melodic instrument.  In addition to his work with Noura, Jeiche remains one of Nouakchott’s most sought after guitarists for traditional ceremonies.

After two albums – Tarabe (2006) & El Howl (2010) – released locally in Mauritania and years of experimentation adapting Moorish music to various pop formations, Noura Mint Seymali’s current band is a concise return to the roots, a light formation led by the “azawan,” a word in Hassaniya that refers to the collective ensemble of traditional instruments; the ardine, tidinit, guitar.  Backed by a declarative, funk-speaking rhythm section, composed of Ousmane Touré (bass) and Matthew Tinari (drums), the band has made a formidable debut on the international stage, releasing two EPs – Azawan (2012) & Azawan II (2013) – and touring widely.  The band’s first full-length album for the international market – TZENNI –  is set for release via Gliiterbeat Records on June 20, 2014 and to be followed by an extensive North American tour.

Though performances at events like globalFEST (USA), Festival-au-Desert (Mali), Hayy Festival (Egypt), Jeux de Francophonie (France) and Festival Timitar (Morocco) and collaborations with artists like Tinariwen, Bassekou Kouyaté, and Baaba Maal, the band is actively exposing Mauritanian roots music to the world.  In a rare merger of cultural authority and experimental prowess, Noura Mint Seymali applies the ancient musical traditions of the griot with a savvy aesthetic engagement in our contemporary moment, emerging as a powerful voice at nexus of a changing Africa.

 

 

Recordings from Mali! (Oumar Konate, Noura Mint Seymali and more) Podcast 19

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I’m back from the Sahara, and, as promised, have a ton of recordings to share with you.  This special show was originally broadcast on WKCR on 89.9 FM-NY and features rough mixes of studio recordings with up and coming guitarist and pop star Oumar Konate, Griot Royalty Noura Mint Seymali from Mauritania recording exclusively for us in her flat in Timbuktu, artists from Niger informally jamming in their tents and the Festival Au Desert and much, much more. We’ll hear this Takamba band in the photo above- they use a car battery and a PA and the flute ends up sounding just like Jimi Hendrix…