Les Filles de Illigadhad

Les Filles de Illigadhad


  • September 13, 2019 at 8:00pm
  • CSPS Hall
  • $19 advance | $23 door

Fatou Seidi Ghali, lead vocalist and guitarist of Les Filles de Illighadad, is one of the few female guitarists in the African nation of Niger. Sneaking away with her older brother's guitar, she taught herself to play. While Fatou's role as the first female Tuareg guitarist is groundbreaking, just as interesting is her musical direction. In Tuareg society, woman have traditionally been musicians, but not guitarists. Instead they’ve been deeply involved with tende, a form of vocal music centered on a drum, traditionally made out of a mortar and pestles. The rhythms of tende have deeply informed the development of Tuareg guitar, but that form has remained the province of men … until now, that is. In a place where gender norms created two divergent musics, Fatou and Les Filles de Illighadad are reasserting the role of tende in Tuareg guitar. In lieu of the djembe or the drum kit, so popular in contemporary Tuareg rock bands, Les Filles de Illighadad incorporate the traditional drum and the pounding calabash, half buried in water. They thus reclaim the importance of this forgotten inspiration, asserting the power of women to innovate using the roots of their musical tradition.

Combining the sounds of Tuareg or 'desert' guitar, with the vocal tradition of tende, the trio has, in essence, created a traditional form that's completely new. The result is winning over fans and critics alike. In Total Eclipse, Joni Sadler called the band’s concert “the most stunning show I’ve seen all year. In addition to an amazing performance, they have an incredible story.” Raved the critic for Cyclic Defrost, “This is village music, raucous, hypnotic, life-affirming … a powerful, beautiful and fascinating cultural experience.”