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Global Notes: Sahel Sounds

Sahel Sounds began as a blog in 2009. It’s since grown into a record label. The blog shared field recordings. The founder, Christopher Kirkley, still uses the platform to document recordings of the musicians he works with. Sahel Sounds bills itself as primarily an “exploration of sound and music in West Africa, particularly in the Sahel region of Mauritania, Mali, and Niger via filmmaking, field recordings, visual art, mp3 archiving, cell-phone data collection, and cross cultural experiments.”

Sahel Sounds features some of today’s premiere Tuareg musicians, including Mdou Moctar, Les Filles de Illighadad, Amanar de Kidal, and others. The label has also produced films, such as the 2015 film Rain The Color Blue With A Little Red In It (Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai), starring musician Mdou Moctar. This year, Sahel Sounds collaborates with Imouhar Studio for the film Zerzura, coming out this July. Moctar is on tour in the United States, and will be at the Old Town School of Folk Music on June 6. We’re joined by Kirkley, an explorer, music archivist, artist, curator, and occasional D.J. 

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