Songhoy Blues will be a highlight of this year’s Earagail Arts Festival.
To give you a flavour of what this fantastic group of musicians from West Africa will bring to An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny next month, check out their performance (below) on one of the most famous small stages in the world, NPR Music’s Tiny Desk.
Nominated for Best New Act at the 2015 Q Awards and as Independent Breakthrough Act at the 2015 AIM Awards, over the last three years Songhoy Blues have cultivated their own legendary status as contemporary ambassadors of West African music and have appeared at numerous festivals including Glastonbury, Bonnaroo, Body & Soul, Latitude and Green Man.
Support on the night will come from Duo Zouk, bouzouki players Nikos Petsakos (Greece) and Martin Coyle (Ireland) exploring the musical journey of the bouzouki from early 1900’s Greece to Ireland.
Songhoy Blues were formed in 2012, when three musicians from northern Mali – Aliou Touré, Garba Touré and Oumar Touré (not related) – fled to the capital, Bamako, after the Islamist group Ansar Dine took control of the region, banning music among many other things. In September 2013, their music caught the attention of the Africa Express project, led by Damon Albarn, and was subsequently released on the Africa Express compilation.
A special free screening of a documentary, featuring Songhoy Blues, will take place at the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny (4pm) earlier in the day – They Will Have To Kill Us First: Malian Music in Exile is a documentary following Malian musicians, including Songhoy Blues, in the wake of a jihadist takeover and subsequent banning of music.
Earagail Arts Festival takes place in County Donegal from 7 to 29 July, 2018 and is funded by the Arts Council Ireland, Donegal County Council and Fáilte Ireland.