TAKRIST NAKAL (Tagueyt Takrist Nakal: «BUILDING THE COUNTRY») is a legendary Nigerian band of Tuareg music.
Recently orphaned of its leader and pioneer of the «desert blues» AbdallahOumbadougou, TAKRIST NAKAL is the legacy of this musician who had greatly contributed to making the rhythms of the desert known beyond its borders. The band continues its career today by being the voice of the Tuareg community and paying a tribute to its creator.
It is in the difficult historical context of the 80’s and 90’s that TAKRIST NAKAL was born, created by Abdallah OUMBADOUGOU, this legendary activist poet who dedicated his career to singing about the struggles of his people and whose songs were inspired by the events of his persecuted and exiled community.
Since the Tuaregs were enlisted in Colonel Gaddafi’s army, it is in the Libyan military training camps that Abdallah would learn to play the electric guitar and that he’ll contribute to give birth to a new musical genre. During the five years of the resistance war in Niger (from 1990 to 1995), he addressed strategic messages to his people through his music on clandestine tapes that would circulate throughout the region, calling on the Tuaregs to uprising and to become aware of their condition. He will then call for peace and unity after the end of the conflict, and will declare that he had «exchanged the Kalashnikov for the guitar»
The desert blues, or Tishumaren (played by the Ishumars), comes from a surname given by the Algerians who saw the Tuareg communities exiled to the outskirts of the cities in search of work, scraping makeshift guitars around a fire, and described them as «unemployed» (Chômeurs in french). Like the Malians of the band Tinariwen, whose members were his traveling companions, Abdallah was one of the inventors of this music mixing traditional rhythms with electric sounds, illustrated today by many musicians of the desert: Bombino (disciple of Abdallah), Tamikrest, Terakaft, Tidawt, Toumast and many others.
Abdallah Oumbadougou’s poetic and revolutionary refrains address the troubling issues facing the Tuareg and other nomads of the Sahara, of which he offered a lucid and concerned insight. Contemporary themes related to the environment and desert preservation are also at the heart of the band’s latest albums.
In his time, Abdallah was able to gather artists around him and contribute to the export of his music through cultural exchanges and fruitful collaborations. The solidarity project Desert Rebel, initiated by cultural activist Farid Merabet and filmmaker François Bergeron, brought together members of the group Takrist Nakal with french musiciens. In 2005 and 2006, Desert Rebel made the world aware of the Tuareg issue through international concerts, accompanied by a powerful record and film by François Bergeron.
Among the Tuaregs, Abdallah was respected for his moral authority and was committed to the development of his community. He had set up several music school projects in Arlit and Agadez, which are still open to this day, and his influence will make a lasting impact on the history of Tuareg people.
Facing his recent death, the members of TAKRIST NAKAL intend to honor him by keeping his legacy alive. The band is composed of several members of his family, who have accompanied him for several years: his son Issouf (guitar/ voice), Hamma Bilalan on rhythm guitar, Moussa Bilalan on bass guitar and vocals and Mamoun Dehane on drums.
They will soon be on tour and have many projects to continue to make the Tuareg rhythms resonate around the world.