Various Artists

The Rough Guide to the Music of the Sahara

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The Sahara Desert region is nearly as big as the continental U.S.A. A vast, hot, often harsh place, it runs through ten African countries with numerous artistic and musical cultures contained within each. This Rough Guide collection features 14 tracks from various popular African artists who offer some of the best of what the Saharan region has to offer. From the earthy "Wodaabe Blues" of Niger's Bammo Agonla and Tankari to the sunny, percussive melodies and rap of "Ya Salam" by Sudanese combo Emmanuel Jal and Abdel Gadir Salim, this collection paints a portrait of a diverse and vibrant place. Nigerian guitar band Etran Finatawa open the album with one of the standout tracks, "Kel Tamasheck," and the first disc concludes with the rhythmic, horn-led "Samara" by Egyptian/Sudanese act Salamat, who combine Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences with African. As with most of the modern Rough Guide editions, Music of the Sahara includes a bonus disc dedicated to a single artist, which is this case is Niger's Mamane Barka, master of the West African instrument the biram.

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