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Paris, Île-de-France, France | INDIE

Paris, Île-de-France, France | INDIE
Band World Blues


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Amar Sundy

12/06/2009 -
Amar Sundy has spent close on 25 years now weaving his subtle mix of Saharan rhythms and American blues. The singer-guitarist, who was born near Tamanrasset, in the Algerian desert, but whose family emigrated to France while he was still young, is descended from a long line of Tuareg. And on his latest album, Sadaka, he pays tribute to his origins with some stunning desert blues.

You can count the number of studio albums Sundy has made since launching his career in the 1980s on one hand. But this is no crime. The desert bluesman from southern Algeria is simply a musician who likes to take his time. Sadaka, Sundy's fourth studio album (released on DixieFrog Records a full five years after his last offering, Najma) is an album on which the Tuareg maestro has honed his lyrics and his carefully-crafted arrangements to perfection.
The fourteen tracks on Sadaka are short but sweet, but they all pack a powerful punch, revolving around blues-ified melodies, strong backing vocals and Sundy's haunting guitar riffs. The latter are supported by some impressive keyboard-playing from Johan Dalgaard and original instrumental accompaniment (such as Marcel Loeffler's accordion on Lilati.)
L’Halem, the opening track on Sundy's new album, expresses concern about where the modern world is heading, but on the whole the desert bluesman's evocative repertoire is a heartfelt ode to the core values of Tuareg culture: beauty, humanity and respect for nature.
The energetic riffs on Sadaka remind us that Sundy, about to turn 50, is an immensely talented guitarist who learned his trade in the U.S. from legendary American bluesmen such as B.B King, Jimmy Johnson and Albert King. Over the years, the Algerian-born guitar man has developed his own unique approach to the blues, combining American tradition with the culture of the "Blue Men" (as the Tuareg desert people are known because they veil their faces with indigo-dyed cloth.)
Despite his star credentials, Sundy knows when to be humble, stepping aside to let his backing vocalists shine on El Hamama, for instance. Guest musicians such as Eric Bibb and drummer Mokthar Samba (who composed one track on the album, Iwa) are also allowed to come to the fore. Sundy, at his personal best covering great blues classics such as Joe Louis Walker's Prisoner of Misery, has produced a very fine album indeed.

- RFI - Alexandre VAREL


Dixiefrog / Harmonia Mundi – DFGCD 8662

Mark: An absolute must!

I better tell you right from the start, this album is right up there with the best. With ‘Sadaka’, there are no heavy guitars, no aggressive beat, no long keyboard monologues, no brass overflow, no showing off with guitar solos or over chatty instruments, there’s none of that but be warned… you’ll be bold over by its energy, its power, its discretion, its radiance, its fluidity and its originality.

The son of a Touareg, Amar Sundy is not satisfied with just playing a tradition of blues and soul like some others. Just like this new album, Sadaka, Amar Sundy never plans anything because things just come to him: “I want to be genuine and the only way to be that way is to let everything come to me until the time when the body becomes sick and is no longer able to deliver the message it carries. To let everything come out, to express it genuinely and truthfully. Only be the instrument of life’s strength. Music flows through life.... life is in my music... and rhythm flows through my life”.

This rhythm which flows through Amar Sundy’s life, you can really feel it in this album’s 14 tracks, all written or co-written by him, and it makes this CD not just a lovely set of songs but a ‘work of art’ with its own universe, its percussions, electric and acoustic guitars. And from the first track, ‘L’Halem’, you’re propelled in the sunny world of Amar Sundy, a world which goes, as he writes it «…where tomorrow’s hopes and love have not yet found an anchor».

There are some impressive guests: Pura Fe’ sings and plays the Hawaiian lap-steel guitar on ‘El Hathab’ and ‘Men’Na’, whilst Eric Bibb sings and plays guitar on ‘Sahraoui’ and Joe Louis Walker takes on the vocals and plays the six-string on ‘Prisoner Of Misery’, giving this album a taste of magic, a taste of the desert that we would like to cross alone to find the peace which is so lacking in these tough times.

For Amar Sundy, the blues is a very heavily bluesy base from which he adds bright or pastel colours which melt, spread, fly away in the warm winds of the desert. With Amar Sundy, there are no black skies or dark thoughts, no fury or rage, everything is peaceful, calm and serene.

Amar Sundy is proud of his origins and he expresses them through a rhythm deep-rooted in North Africa and it’s the percussions which bring out again and again this tribal atmosphere throughout ‘Sadaka’. Just listen to them on ‘El Hathab’ (Old Blues), or ‘El Hamma’ (Blue Dream), a beautiful ode to the nomadic people that are the blue men. One of the great moments of this album, which sends shivers down the spine.

Musically speaking, Amar Sundy can be daring, for example, adding a flute in ‘Debhia’, creating a unique musical world, a subtle mix of traditional blues and North African sounds, as if one could not survive without the other.

This album isn’t a mirage but a miracle in the hot sun of the desert. An album which will maybe surprise amateurs of pure blues, but a real discovery for all of you wishing to embark on a musical journey!

And to finish with, I can’t help but mention these few words from Amar, words which sum up better than anything I can write about ‘Sadaka’ : “Going about his nomadic way with his light thoughts, the blue man vanishes like a scent recaptured by the desert.»

One final word: respect!

Frankie Bluesy Pfeiffer
Blues Magazine & Paris-Move

Translated from the French by Nathalie ‘Nat’ Harrap



The new Sadaka CD has everything that is so wonderful about Amar Sundy's music, and even includes a 10 minute video of him in addition to the music. His music is a compelling and unique mixture of lyrical melodies, blues guitar and musical themes from his north african Toureg background. Each of his albums is different in how it mixes these music influences. On Sadaka, themes from his Toureg upbringing come through more pronounced than on his other albums, both in the music lines and also powerful vocals with several guest singers. but it still features his kick-ass Chicago blues guitar playing and overall unique sound. Fantastic album. I had the good fortune of seeing him play the new music live in Europe a few weeks ago and came away convinced more than ever that no one makes music like this. As one of the reviewers from his other albums said - "just buy it and you can thank me later"
By R. Alloy (San Francisco) - R. ALLOY on AMAZON


2004 - NAJMA
2009 - SADAKA





I was born among proud people, in the invincible desert, aware very early of the strenght of nature that rules everything

Born in the Sahara region of Algeria (Hoggar), Amar Sundy is a descendant of a long line of Tuaregs ; In the early sixties he moved to France with his family and grew up in the suburbs of Paris.

In his late teens he travels back to Algeria in search of his roots. There, meeeting a French traveler guitarist, picking expert, Amar find his vocation...

Back in Paris, he discovers the tremendous richness of the American Afro-Blues music, thanks to his friend SUNDY… "… When he chose to leave us, I took his name so that it would live on…” Then Amar becomes Amar SUNDY.

ln the mid 80's, he plays ins the Parisian clubs “LE BAISER SALÉ” “LE SUNSET”, LE DUC DES LOMBARDS” where you can see him playing with Memphis Slim, B.B. King…

From 1985 on, Amar Sundy becomes a regular performer on the Chicago Blues scene. Everything started in Paris with the encounter of Jimmy Johnson and an invitation to the “windy city". He stayed above a club named "The Blues". Amar jams with legendary players such as John Littlejohn, Otis Rush, Son Seals, Sunnyland Slim, Big time Sarah.

He tours in the States with James COTTON and makes two European tours with Albert King ("Kid, you ain’t European, you're from Mississippi" pretty nice compliment, isn't?), and with Albert Collins,

1990 marks the year of its first album "Hoggar-Chicago-Paris", recorded live in studio. Amar Sundy is a composer-songwriter and interprets his pieces in French, English and Tuareg.
He tours then, during 3 years: Jazz Festival of Montreal, Francofolies of Montreal, Quebec Summer Festival, Arezzo Festival in Italy, Barcelona Blues festival, Winston Legends Festival...
One sees it in first part of Albert King, Van Morrison, Robert Plant or Khaled.

In 1998 after five years of experimentation and search “Homme Bleu” delivers a new musical style based on the fusion of the Chicago Blues and the Berber rhythms.

In 2000, appears “Live and Blues” the first album live of the guitarist-singer.

With "Najma" that comes out in 2004 on the label Dixiefrog, the maturity of this alchemist of the styles takes form and its long way to a definitively personal style, is concretized with talent.

In 2006, Putumayo Records features "Ouallache" (a track from « Najma ») in its compilation "Blues around the world”.

March 2009, is the release date of his last CD “Sadaka” (Sahraoui for “sharing”), a blues odyssey under the stars of the African desert! With blues still running through his veins, he revisits his African roots in a rich rhythmic and vocal context, filled with bendir drums and female voices - Special guests : Eric BIBB, PURA FE’, Joe Louis WALKER, Khalil CHAHINE, Lisa DOBY, Sylvin MARC and Mokhtar SAMBA.