Songhoy Blues: 2017
Songhoy Blues at WFUV (photo by Dan Tuozzoli and Joanna LaPorte)
The West African country of Mali has been called the cradle of the blues due to its rich and influential music history. In 2012, Islamist militants invaded northern Mali, and along with civil conflict and threats of violence came the institution of strict laws forbidding music. Many fled to the Malian capital of Bamako, and it was there that Songhoy Blues was formed.
The band of refugees was steadily gaining a following when they were discovered in a nightclub by a visiting producer seeking musicians for Damon Albarn’s Africa Express compilation. From there, a nonstop series of doors have been opening for Songhoy Blues. Its 2015 debut, Music In Exile, was produced by Yeah Yeah Yeahs' guitarist Nick Zinner, and the band was also the main subject of the documentary film, They Will Have To Kill Us First: Malian Musicians In Exile.
Now, after a massive tour, Songhoy Blues is back with its follow up, Résistance, and they stopped by Studio A to play us songs from the album and tell us a bit of their story.