|Alhousseini Anivolla ◊ Anewal / The Walking Man (2012)|
Alhousseini Anivolla — Anewal / The Walking Man
Location: Niamey, Niger
Album release: August 13, 2012
Record Label: Riverboat Records
01.) Imoussanan 5:45
02.) Kammo Tarhanin 4:32
03.) Imadanan Id’Madiakan 4:36
04.) Talaouit 3:15
05.) Talitin 4:30
06.) Attarech 5:53
07.) Amoud 4:23
08.) Tamiditin 4:00
09.) Emassli Na Taregh 3:27
10.) Iblis Odouad 5:55
11.) Aiytma (feat. Malebo) [Bonus Track] 6:12
≈ Debut release by Etran Finatawa guitarist & singer
Active languages: French, Tamacheq, Zarma a Hausa
≈ Alhousseini Anivolla's music explores traditional music of his homeland and the cultural exchange of African-American blues genres.
≈ The album was recorded in Niamey, the capital of Niger and evokes the spirit of desert blues. The desert blues is a term for West African styles fusing with traditional musics of African-American blues and African pop styles. Other pioneers of this genre include Malian bluesman Ali Farka Touré and the Tuareg blues-rock band Tinariwen. ≈ Listen out for the guitar style of ichumar which was developed during 1970s by the Tuareg.
≈ This song appeals to the older generation, and implores them to keep giving advice to the youth of today. Alhousseini reflects on the worth of such wisdom, noting how nowadays the headstrong younger generation often refuse to take such valuable counsel on board – making it even more precious than ever before.
02 Kammo Tarhanin
≈ ‘Kammo Tarhanin’ is a gentle ballad. The lyrics reflect on the phenomenon of being blinded by love – ‘With love in your eyes, you don’t see anything else. When someone talks to you, you can’t concentrate and think only of your dear one’.
03 Imadanan Id’Madiakan
≈ This song considers the common disputes between farmers and nomadic shepherds over land in Niger, an issue causing divisions that are fracturing society. Alhousseini urges the clashing groups to work together to overcome their differences and work together towards peace and advancement of the Niger economy.
≈ ‘Talaouit’ translates as ‘pride’. During the song Alhousseini speaks of the deep pride he feels when he sees people from across Africa working together towards peace and progress.
≈ ‘Talitin’ translates as ‘my inner light’, and is a pensive love song. Alhousseini describes the inner light that is guiding him in life, and how love has brought him fulfilment and happiness.
≈ Alhousseini composed this instrumental track for the documentary film, The Endless Journey. The film charts the experiences of Alhousseini and three colleagues (Mamane Barka, Bammo Agonla and Oumarou Amadou) on a momentous road trip they took across Niger. Their mission was to perform music to students in outlying schools across the diverse country.
≈ This song is a prayer for peace. Alhousseini reminds his brothers to respect and preserve local tradition, culture and religion. Considering the current turbulent politics that are taking hold in the Sahel region, ‘Amoud’ is a particularly poignant and urgent call for peace.
≈ ‘Tamiditin’ explores the idea of cultivating love. Alhousseini explains that love is not static, but must be tended and cared for in order to survive. Relationships must be based on real emotions, not on lies – like mirages in the desert.
09 Emassli Na Taregh
≈ In this song Alhousseini plays the takidibina, a traditional musical bow that is now rarely played. Alhousseini explains how the historic instrument puts him in direct contact with his ancestors, anchoring him deeply to his heritage.
10 Iblis Odouad
≈ ‘Iblis Odouad’ or ‘Demons Are Showing Up’ is a hauntingly beautiful track. The lyrics paint out a dusk scene – as the sun is coming down, Alhousseini wants to share the last lights of the day with his dearest. As one day ends, the night calls for his soul, and he can hear demons all around, talking in different languages. The only comfort at this magical and dangerous time is to be in the company of his loved one.
11 Aiytma feat. Malebo (Bonus Track)
≈ This exclusive bonus track features the South African singer Malebo Mothema, and her soaring vocals add an entirely new flavour to Alhousseini’s work.
By David Maine 30 August 2012 (http://www.popmatters.com)
≈ Great album of acoustic but energetic desert blues
≈ Alhousseini Anivolla is the latest of a seemingly endless wave of “desert blues” guitarists erupting out of Mali and other states of the western Sahara, inspired perhaps by the intercontinental success of trailblazers like Tinariwen and Terakaft. Anivolla has plenty of experience and street (sand?) cred: As the guitarist and lead vocalist of Etran Finatawa, he is a prominent figure in the movement’s “second generation”, but this album marks his first attempt at a solo career.
≈ While some of the newer faces in this movement, such as Bombino, utilize a more distinctly electric approach to writing and recording their songs, Anivolla’s approach is more acoustic in nature and utilizes a gentler, sweeter approach. Don’t be misled, however; “gentler” does not mean “weaker”, and Anivolla’s songs ripple with the same muscular energy as those of his old bandmates. His tunes may lope where the others surge, but their rolling energy is in its way irresistibly compelling.
≈ Things get good right away on Anivolla’s debut, Anewal/The Walking Man. Opening track “Imoussanan” combines hypnotic, semi-chanted vocals with a sweet melody reflected in both the voices and the guitar picking; it all takes about six seconds to establish itself before stretching out for almost six minutes. Anivolla’s voice is sweet and gravelly at the same time, possessing that same misleading casualness present in so many singers of this style. The guitar work is fluid but never flashy, serving the underpin the song without calling attention to itself.
≈ Follow-up tune “Kammo Tarhanin” is perhaps the best song on the record, possessing a terrific polyrhythm base and tinkling guitar line that perfectly offsets the wistful vocals of the singer. Before the listener has a chance to catch his/her breath, though, it’s off the races for a whole string of well-rendered tunes: The reflective “Imadanan Id’Madiakan”, with its growling echo chorus; the urgent “Talaouit”, propelled by spare but effective hand percussion; and “Talitin”, whose simple melody burrows into the listener’s head and can nest there for days. Trust me on this one.
≈ At 11 tracks, there is the opportunity here for energy to slacken in the back half of the album, but this doesn’t happen. Certainly, the template has been set by midway point, and there are no unexpected shifts, but the tunes remain solid and well-played throughout.
≈ The effective instrumental “Attarech” clocks in at nearly six minutes with a stuttering, jittery guitar line that proves as hypnotic as anything that has come before, while “Amoud” and “Tamiditin” are both gently swaying numbers that bring harmony vocals into the mix for a fuller sound and a softer overall effect.
≈ “Iblis Ouadad” would be a standout on any number of lesser albums, but on an offering this consistent it is just one more strong song among many. That said, it should still be noted for the solid tune that it is. Bonus track “Aiytma” offers ethereal vocals courtesy of female guest singer Malebo, plus a discreet, dreamy synth line to add a dash of something unexpected. The results work well overall, though perhaps better as a bonus track than as something suggesting a new direction for the future.
≈ Aficianados of the burgeoning desert blues scene owe it to themselves to listen to this fine record, as do fans of guitar playing, followers of trends in world music or music lovers in general. This is a terrific album that deserves a wide audience. Rating:
≈ 'throbs with desert guitar tropes given a bluesy twist, thick basslines and deep, reverberating vocals full of inscrutable myth and mystery' 7/10 Uncut
≈ 'Alhousseini’s debut is in a different league' 3***, The Financial Times
≈ 'desert rock becomes an introspective affair on this debut' 3***, Independent On Sunday ***
≈ 'subtle nuanced arrangements ... a move towards an intimacy of sound' The Arts Desk, Disc Of The Day
≈ 'New gorgeous Tuareg desert blue' Afropop Worldwide
≈ 'full of smouldering guitar licks' 3*** FT.com
Anewal/The Walking Man
≈ This album was recorded in Niamey, the hustling-bustling capital of Niger. As the city hummed with heat and thick dust storms rolled in, Alhousseini Mohamed Anivolla and his good friend Michel Tranchet recorded the music heard here. Next, Colin Bass painstakingly tweaked, mixed and cultivated the swinging bluesy sounds with his expert touch. Their careful efforts resulted in Anewal/The Walking Man, a solo album soaked in the spirit of deep desert blues.
≈ Alhousseini was born in the Saharan desert and is a nomad of Tuareg heritage. He chose the album title Anewal/The Walking Man in reference to his itinerant lifestyle, which has led him across the Sahara and the entire globe as a member of Etran Finatawa. Now on Anewal/The Walking Man, Alhousseini takes centre stage - every work is his own original composition.
≈ Alhous’ sound puts his own spin on the great living tradition, the ‘Desert Blues’. His music explores the intersection between the traditional music of his homeland, and the African-American blues genre that it birthed. His guitar technique is related to the ichumar style, developed during the 1970s by Tuaregs exiled in Libya.
≈ The album’s central theme concerns Alhousseini’s strong connection to his ancestral elders and his community, values that are expressed both lyrically and musically. ‘Emassli Na Taregh’ features a traditional musical bow that Alhousseini feels puts him in direct contact with the ancestors. The title of the track ‘Iblis Odouad’ translates as ‘Demons Are Showing Up’, Alhousseini explains: ‘When the sun is coming down ... you hear all the demons talking at once in different languages. You feel alone, isolated and so homesick if you are not surrounded by your dear ones at this time.’ Again we are reminded that, for Alhousseini home isn’t dictated by place, but only by community and the company of your loved ones. The track opens with a solo guitar figure, which is later joined by a thick bassline and cantering percussion. After over a minute of instrumental interplay, Alhousseini’s vocal enters in a soft, almost hushed tone that conjures up an air of solitude perfectly.
≈ Anewal/The Walking Man is Alhousseini’s diary of his personal journey from the desert, to the city, to the world stage and back again. Enjoy this evocative and gutsy desert blues album from Alhousseini, who is, in his own words a ‘nomad by heart’.
© Sur la plage de Cape Town, South Africa, 2011
|Alhousseini Anivolla ◊ Anewal / The Walking Man (2012)|