Black Tenere Kel Assouf
Info for Black Tenere
On the heels of their acclaimed album 'Tikounen' – a recording The Guardian called ‘a leap forward in the modern Tuareg sound…truly radical’ – Kel Assouf return with an even more transformative collection: 'Black Tenere'.
Produced by the band’s keyboardist Sofyann Ben Youssef, the mastermind behind the highly touted AMMAR 808, the new album strips things back to a power trio lineup and focuses on the crackling, forward-looking energy of Nigerien front man Anana Ag Haroun’s next level Kel Tamashek (Tuareg) rock songs.
Anana exudes a steadied yet powerful charisma when he walks onto a stage. Wearing his trademark Panama hat and holding one of rock and roll’s most archetypal guitars – a Gibson Flying V – both his presence and his music personifies the interconnected paths he has travelled in the past years. Born and raised in Niger, but transplanted to Brussels eleven years ago to be with his wife and to raise a family – he acknowledges there is a duality to his world-view: “My three daughters were born in Belgium, so the country became a part of my identity. These days I'm a Belgian when I'm in Niger and a Nigerien when I'm in Belgium."
Kel Assouf’s musical journey has flowed seamlessly from the well-spring created by Ishumar desert rock pioneers Tinariwen - that Haroun first encountered as a young musician in Niger - towards sonic horizons that include the rock classicism of groups like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Queens of the Stone Age and the club beats and astral ambiance of European electronic music. On Black Tenere, the band pushes these different textures and influences towards a persuasive, raw-edged crescendo. Ag Haroun see’s the path to the new album and its new sound this way: “my musical tastes didn’t change but they are expanding further thanks to my different encounters and my curiosity. Black Tenere is a rock album. it's a choice to give a more original touch that builds up the identity of Kel Assouf and differentiates it from the other groups of Ishumar music. For me the music has to travel and it has to be open to other sounds so that everyone can listen to the messages it carries.”
Kel Assouf is a triangle of influences, cultural expressions and complex identities. Oliver Penu, a young jazz drummer from Belgium. Sofyann Ben Youssef, a renowned electronic producer and rock fan, born and raised in Tunisia. Anana Ag Haroun, a second generation Ishumar guitarist and singer-songwriter from Niger - living in Brussels, one of Europe’s most multi-ethnic capital cities. The band is a reflection of how contemporary music works and enriches us. In an era where borders are being redrawn and walls are being erected, Kel Assouf shows us other possibilities. Ag Haroun states this beautifully: “music is a weapon of war without violence. It is a claim for justice and it is also the soul of humanity. It brings together human beings from different cultures and different languages and from different countries. If we were to invest more in culture today and less in weapons, the world would be different. Music is peace for our souls”
Olivier Penu, drums
Aboubacar Harouna, vocals, guitar
Sofyann Ben Youssef, keyboards
Produced by Michael Wolteche
In 2006, Anana Harouna arrived in Brussels after a long exile and created a new band: Kel Assouf. Since then he explored various styles and formulas gathering musicians from African and European countries. The band recorded two albums with Igloo Records: two completely different stories, from tradition to deep rock.
With one foot in the desert and the other in Europe, Anana Harouna sings about Sahara, Niger and Brussels. The melodies and rhythms are directly inspired by Berber music. His short sentences, laid on scales and rhythms from traditional keltamasheq music, remind us the concision of Japanese haiku.
With a new minimalist power trio, surrounded by Sofyann Ben Youssef on the organ and the Moog SUB 37, and Olivier Penu on drums, Anana Harouna's revolt against injustices is made explicit by the saturated voice of his guitar. The African trance rhythms melted into the energy of vintage rock move us to a dancefloor somewhere between London and Niamey - a powerful groove machine !
There is one thing Anana loves very much: sharing his poems with his fans during live streaming sessions on social media. He doesn’t need more than his voice and his guitar to express his message of peace and respect.
This album contains no booklet.