Live Concert Photography: Tal National with Super Yamba Band at Littlefield 2/23/18

Live Concert Photography: Tal National with Super Yamba Band at Littlefield 2/23/18

Currently composed of Almeida (guitar), Babaye (guitar), Tafa (guitar), Massaoudo (vocals), Souleymane (vocals), Maloumba (vocals), Seidou (vocals), Dalik (vocals), Yac Tal (bass), Essa (bass), Omar (drums), Souleymane (drums), Aboullay (drums), Sgt. Maty (drums, vocals), the Niamey, Niger-based collective Tal National features a core group of musicians with a rotating cast of collaborators that represents their homeland’s diverse array of cultures with members from their homeland’s Songhai, Fulani, Hausa and Tuareg populations. Unsurprisingly, the members of the collective have developed a reputation for crafting joyous and hypnotic guitar music rooted in the diverse musical culture of their homeland, as well as the sounds of Western Africa — in particular, Nigeria’s highlife and Afrobeat, Malian griot and blues, Hausa rolling 12/8 rhythms, as well as American psych rock (at points), delivered with virtuoso precision and with high energy.

The band’s 2013 debut effort was released through FatCat Records to critical acclaim from the likes of The New York TimesThe GuardianThe IndependentMojoVice and The Wireand as a result, they recorded frenetic live sessions on NPR, KEXP and WBEZ, as well as praise from Pitchfork, Afropop Worldwide, The Fader, The Quietus, and The Boston Globe.

Tantabara, Tal National’s third album was released last month, and the album continues their ongoing collaboration with Chicago, IL-based engineer Jamie Carter on production and engineering duties. Recorded in the collective’s hometown of Niamey, Niger, the album finds the collective furthering their expressed missions of making global audiences dance to hypnotic groves, while focusing on capturing the energy and vibe of their live sets to tape. Much like their counterparts across the continent, the collective have managed to find a way to create a huge sound with extremely limited resources — usually, with the members of the collective recording in a dusty, remote, cramped and makeshift studio with equipment and instruments on the verge of disrepair.  The members of the collective have openly credited their songwriting and recording process to adding to their overall communal spirit, while ensuring that everyone within the act being involved; in fact, Tantabara‘s 8 tracks features 8 different vocalists — 7 of whom are full-time members. Additionally, the album finds the collective looking back on a busy and influential period of time spent honing their live and recorded sound drawing from a number of Stateside tours, live sets at WOMAD Festival and Roskilde Festival and their legendary 5 hour plus live shows at their Niamey nightclub. Catching them live, gave the crowd a unique glimpse of some of Niger’s most charming and most talented ambassadors.
Now, as you may recall the band is in the middle of a Stateside tour to support Tantabara, which included a February 23, 2018 stop at Littlefield and opening the night was the local Afrobeat act Super Yamba Band, making for an incredible night of live music from Africa. Check out the remaining tour dates for Tal National’s Stateside tour, and the photos from the show below.
TOUR DATES:
03/17 Baltimore, MD @ Creative Alliance
03/18 Charleston, WV @ Mountain Stage
03/23 Knoxville, TN @ Big Ears Festival
03/24 Atlanta, GA @ Smith’s Olde Bar

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Leon Ligan-Majek, best known as Kaleta is a Benin-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who spent his teenaged years in Lagos, Nigeria.  Ligan-Majek’s musical career began in earnest in the late 70s, performing in churches, before catching the attention of Juju master and world music pioneer King Sunny Ade and the legendary founder of Afrobeat, Fela Kuti and his backing band Egypt 80s through the 90s. Kaleta has also collaborated with Majek Fashek and Lauryn Hill.
When Kaleta relocated to New York, he was overjoyed to stumble upon Super Yamba Band and their take on the 70s and 80s psychedelic sounds from his homeland; in fact, the band has cited Orchestre Poly-Rythmo, El Rego and Gnonnas Pedro (all of whom have pioneers of Afro-funk) as influences on their sound while Kaleta sings lyrics in several different languages frequently spoken across West Africa, including Fon, Goun, Yoruba, Ewe, French and Pidgin English, “the official language of Afrobeat,” Kaleta says. Naturally, at points their sound is reminiscent of Expensive Shit/He Miss Road-era Fela meshed with James Brown — or in other words, it’s funky as hell and was a great opener to the night.

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For these photos and more, check out the Flickr set here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskxacWZC

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