Exciting Malian group Songhoy Blues will play headline shows in Perth and Melbourne while in the country for festival appearances at Bluesfest, Port Fairy Folk Festival and Golden Plains next year.
Hailing from Gao, Oumar Touré and Aliou Touré grew up obsessed with hip hop, R&B and classic acts such as The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. After meeting young guitarist Garba Toure (son of Oumar Toure, long-time percussionist in Ali Farka Toure’s band), they started making music while at university in Bamako.
Unrest in the north of Mali forced the trio and many of their family to take refuge down in Bamako as hostilities worsened in early 2012 and, after meeting young drummer Nathanial ‘Nat’ Dembele, Songhoy Blues were formed.
After impressing French music manager Marc-Antoine Moreau, the band recorded a track with Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for inclusion on the Africa Express album Maison des Jeunes.
Their debut album, Music in Exile, dropped early this year.
They’re also the subject of the gripping documentary They Will Have to Kill Us First, which details a jihadist takeover in Mali and the subsequent banning of music.