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Nouakchott, Nouakchott, Mauritania | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Nouakchott, Nouakchott, Mauritania | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Band World Blues


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Guardian"

From the desert Country of Mauritania comes one of Africa's great singers. Back home, Malouma is something of a controversial celebrity, both for the way she has campaigned for women's rights and the way she has used her role as a griot, from a family of tradition, musicians, to shake up the music scene.
She began to explore the links between the music of the Sahara and the blues, just as performers like Ali Farka Toure or Amadou and Mariam have done across the border in Mali. In the process she has developed a distinctive style of her own.
Backed by guitars and traditional instruments like the guitar-like tidinit, she mixes subtle, slinky blues-edged songs with others that veer from Moorish influences through to what sounds like a new desert fusion of gospel and gently driving R&B.
There are passages that edge towards western pop, but then she's back to her cool, drifting desert blues, her understated voice as varied as her influences"
The Guardian - X


1998: Desert of Eden
2002: Dounya
2007: Nour
2014: Knou




The Mauritanian Diva is back with her 4th blazing international record Knou - Out on April 3rd 2014. (KAMIYAD / ABEILLE MUSIQUE)

Silent for a few years and discontinuing her records after being elected as a member of the Mauritanian Senate in 2007, Malouma was fated to be back on stage as she can't live without the music she inherited and learnt firsthand from her father. Whenever the senate is not in session and when I'm home, I take my ardin (1). Raptured by the feeling of loneliness and by my imagination, I gets myself into songwriting. In this album, the crossbred altruism of pluri-ethnic cities, which was the seed to as well as the prominant colour of this album, intermingles with evocations of the immaculate quietness of desert spaces. In such beautiful songs as Deyar or With Mike , refined poetry transcends love's melancholia. Each track is an harmony of musical patterns unveiling new different harmonies anytime you listen to it. Knou goes as a masterpiece and the sonorous voice of the diva arouses passion. It took Malouma over 3 years to record her new album in the Nyla de Malouma studio of Nouakchott, featuring such prestigious artists as the Orchestre National de Barbs for the Rbeyna song, percussionnist Steve Shehan for Deyar , Mektoub , Dahar and Knou , also featuring Jazz pianist Mike Del Ferro for the songs Zemzndour and With Mike , drummer Frank Mantegari for most of the songs, and including her closest collaborators : Mohamed Hafsi, Aly N 'Dao, Mohamed Yahya Amar, Arafat... The sound mixing was made up in London by best-known sound engeneer Godwin Logie (Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, Seun Kuti...).

Born and raised in Charrat, a remote Mauritanian village, in the desert, not far from the city of Mederdra, in the South-west region of Trarza, Malouma started learning traditional music at the age of six, under the very strict guidance of her father, the poet and musician Moktar Ould Meddah, whose life-long prestigious talent honoured his ancestors. He taught me how to sing and whenever I happened to fail he would not talk to me any more, she remembered, but when I did it right, I would be rewarded. For us, musical education is a very serious issue and it is no small matter . Her father's influence meant much to the modern outcome of her later work.

My father was a very witty and knowledgeable man, extremely open-minded as well. He was but one of the happy few in the village who owned a radio set and he had us listen to a wide range of music on the radio. Malouma sang Goueyred as a tribute to her revered father and she even inserted the record of her father's voice in the song. I use my father's voice, although he passed away a long time ago, to conjure up his memory and revive the traditional music he used to sing. It is for me a way to preserve the memory of these traditional songs before they shall disappear . And she would not hesitate a second to stitch together this immemorial voice of her father to the contemporary voice of young rap singer Sankofa she met in Paris. The title song Knou also revives the memory of this cherished past. When I was about ten, I remember watching women from east Mauritania perform a type of dance I had never seen in my life before, although many in my family count among the cast of very experienced artists. The ardin tunes that accompanied the dancer's performances were tunes I had never heard of before. They have always remained deeply rooted in my memory. Later, when I happened to hear about Knou dancing again, I was told only the most beautiful dancers were entitled to dance it. Knou is the only dance allowing women dancers to unveil their beauty. That's why only the most beautiful young girls were initiated. There is also a one-day festival during which musicians would play for the newly-bred dancers. I have always thought about dedicating one of my songs to knou dancing. And strangely enough that's why I just did in this album, at last, while this traditional dancing has but almost disappeared. 

Malouma has always been committed to preserving the Mauritanian traditional culture against the overpowering threat of modernity. That's the very reason why she made up her mind to set up her own foundation in 2011. Thanks to my foundation I can act on and approach life concretely. To my mind, culture can greatly impact our world's values and partakes in the world's peace process. Mauritania's cultural background is outstanding, especially music which is a compound of mixed music. Our country indeed is home to a pluri-ethnic population of Black-Africans, Arabic and Berber people and similarly enough our music is a mix of crosscultures brought together into a unique musical mix. 

Francois Bensignor

(1) Angular harp which consists in about ten strings and which used to be played by women only in the tradition of the Iggawin griots of Mauritania.

Band Members