Etran Finatawa

Introducing Etran Finatawa

Etran Finatawa (or “Stars of Tradition”) is a 10-piece group from the West African country of Niger, made up of musicians from two nomadic groups, the Tuareg and the Wodaabe. Hypnotic in its rhythmic repetition and exotic group vocals, Introducing Etran Finatawa easily transports the listener out of his or her living room and onto the Sahelian savannah to rub elbows with camels and Ekenan cattle. Ghalitane Khamidoune and Alhousseni Mohamed Anivolla play electric guitar and sing, supported by such non-Western instruments as the tendé drum, akayauré (metal rings on a metal plate worn on the leg) and azakalabó (or “water-flooding calabash”). Lyrics, translated into English in the liner notes, are precious for their simplicity. From “Ekenan”: “You, Raichatou / Your eyes are so beautiful / Like the eyes of a newborn Ekenan calf / That just wakes up under the sun.” Or from “Surbajo”: “Hello Miss / How are you in the morning? / How are you in the afternoon? / And in the evening?”