Category: Biographie

Hero of Tuareg music, Abdallah Oumbadougou returns on stage after several years of absence …

Today, in 2019, Abdallah reformed his original group, the one he started with, TAKRIST NAKAL and is ready to go back on the roads, don’t miss them on stage…

In his latest album, he brings together songs inspired by events in the past six years by his community in northern Niger. Recorded by the French collective Culture et Résistance, which accompanied and supported him since the adventure Desert Rebel, his songs address the troubling issues facing the Tuareg and other nomads of the Sahara, and which Abdullah offers us a lucid lighting and concerned .

Nigerian Abdallah Oumbadougou is a pioneer of Tuareg blues rock. Like the Malians of  Tinariwen, he is one of the inventors of this music today illustrated by many desert musicians: Bombino (disciple of Abdallah), Tamikrest, Terakaft, Tidawt, Toumast and other Atri N ‘Assouf. These groups, which evolve in Europe and all over the world, appreciate and mix with each other. Not a musician would miss the concert of another, which often invites him to participate in the show. Musically, Abdallah Oumbadougou distinguished himself, especially Tinariwen, thanks to the fruitful companionship he has with Daniel Jamet, since the Desert Rebel project. Artistic director of the album Zozodinga, the latter, one of the pillars of the late Mano Negra, has made his mark, shaping the musical direction of a perfectly successful record, in colors sometimes deliberately rock.

Abdallah Oumbadougou is one of the elders and his moral authority is respected. Everyone knows his experience and it is not without a certain admiration that is evoked his career. In the 1980s, the Malian and Nigerian governments, hostile to the unity and recognition of the Tuaregs, chased them away from nomadic areas where for generations clans and families had been circulating throughout the Sahara. In the eyes of Algerians, young exiles who haunted the outskirts of cities in search of work, scratching the guitar around a small home dug on the ground to make bitter tea, were only unemployed. Hence the term “ishumar” designating the music they played on makeshift guitars. Called to Libya, a number of young Tuaregs were going to be recruited by the ex-Gaddafi guide in favor of his jihad. Many of them died there. And in the training camps, the young fighters of the Tuareg cause learned how to handle the Kalashnikov and the electric guitar in turn.

During the five years of resistance war in Niger (from 1990 to 1995), Abdallah Oumbadougou’s songs provided messages to Tuareg fighter units scattered in the desert. They made it possible to inform the families about their positions, facilitating the supply of small mobile groups. They have consolidated hope and determination within the clans. They also contributed to the unification of the different armed groups against the Nigerian dictatorship. With the end of the Great Rebellion, with military and political pressures easing, they have consistently urged the building of a future for future generations.

Out of hiding, Abdallah finds his family in Agadez. From then on, his guitar will replace his weapon, definitely. In his voice, well known for having toured the desert camps on duplicate cassettes by hand, he advocates unity. Opposed to division into factions rallied to some rebel leaders, he supports no party, except that of culture, art and poetry. The little money he receives through his music is used to educate the younger generations of Tuaregs. Growing up on the outskirts of cities, most of them are struck with idleness: no school, dry pastures, ever leaner animals, and then the stinging sand of the desert … For them, Abdallah Oumbadougou creates two small music schools, the first in Arlit in 2000, the second in 2003 in Agadez, where half of his family lives.

This is where the Desert Rebel adventure really started. Initiated by “cultural activist” Farid Merabet, director of development and external relations of, and filmmaker François Bergeron, this solidarity project brought together members of Abdallah’s group, Tagueyt Takrist Nakal (Construire le pays, founded in 1987 in Libya), with Daniel Jamet, ex-solo guitarist of Mano Negra, Amazigh Kateb, former singer of Gnawa Diffusion, and Guizmo, singer of the group Tryo. In 2005 and 2006, Desert Rebel sensitized the audiences of the world to the Tuareg question by its international concerts, accompanied by a powerful record and a film, signed François Bergeron, witness of the adventure. In this film, the main actors of the Tuareg rebellion in Niger read the story from their point of view. But the new insurgency of 2007 in North-Niger changes the situation. Abdallah, threatened, must remain in Europe while his musicians are in the country. The coup of February 2010 deposing President Mamadou Tandja, who wanted to change the Constitution to stay in power against the advice of all, is a relief. With the arrival of a Touareg as prime minister, the desert population finally feel represented.

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