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Songhoy Blues: Music In Exile

Exiled African quartet bring the rhythm. And blues.

There are not too many bands plying what might loosely be called African-blues-rock, so Malian quartet Songhoy Blues at least have little in the way of competition.

Formed after being forced out of their hometown by Islamic extremists, their collective sound is a raucous clash of loping African rhythms and primal blues power. With Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on production duties, it straddles the traditional and modern with admirable verve. Recent single Soubour hinges on a deep groove eerily reminiscent of John Lee Hooker, while tracks such as Nick and Ai Tchere Bele channel Hendrix, guitarist Garba Touré showing off some fiery fretwork. By all accounts a formidable live proposition too – developing their chops with four-hour sets in tiny Malian clubs – this is a debut steeped in social conscience that remains unequivocally danceable. Highly recommended.