Songhoy Blues

Rock Group from Mali Including Garba Touré, Aliou Touré, Oumar Touré, and Nathanael Dembélé

Songhoy Blues comes from the city of Gao, a metropolis in the Republic of Mali, heavily affected war with Radical Islamist terrorists who forbade music. Guitarist Garba Traoré explained why they chose to leave to the capital city Bamako saying, „We had no idea that someone could forbid us from playing our music, because it’s like forbidding you from meeting the woman you love.“ The name of the band not only refers to their relationship with blues and their nation of Songhay, it reflects the traumatic situation of refugees, who’ve found themselves in a strange and culturally different environment. Starting a band and playing music from their birthplace was the only way for them to move on through their personal crises. They also appeared in the acclaimed documentary, They Will Have to Kill Us First, in which the British director Johanna Schwartz shows the massive exodus of musicians from the north of Mali and the cruel consequences of the ban of “satan´s music” coming from the terrorists. “Music is a much better sound than the screaming and crying of women being dismembered,” sing Songhoy Blues in the film.

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