Whatsapp in the Sahara

The last album by Les Filles de Illighadad which came out in 2017 was something else. It was so engaging and hypnotic yet understated that I found myself addicted to it for a few months back in 2018. Amaria Hamadalher wasn’t in the group then, but she is now and based on this four song EP it totally makes sense. Based in Saharan desert of central Niger where the Tuareg guitar style is predominant and mostly dominated by men, Amaria Hamadalher and Les Filles de Illighadad are blazing their own trails.

The four songs of this EP were astonishingly recorded onto a cellphone, then transmitted up to the internet using WhatsApp and then made available for easy purchase on the old bandcamp via Portland, Oregon’s Sahel Sounds. You’d never know it. It sounds like they’re in a studio, or at least your living room. Hamadalher’s acoustic thump and soothing vocals are sublime. As all great EP’s it leaves you wanting more, and there’s more soon in the form of the next Les Filles de Illighadad album which can’t come soon enough.

For more about Portland’s Sahel Sounds and Amaria Hamadalher check out the Portland Mercury’s short interview with label honcho Christopher Kirkly.

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