Kel Assouf – From Niger To Tunisia


Kel Assouf, the Tuareg band around Anana Harouna (Niger), is ready for a next phase. New member Toulou Kiki (also actress in the award-winning movie Timbuktu) adds the matriarchal element to the repertoire, and Tunisian producer/musician Sofyann Ben Youssef took the band to a whole new level, working on a very contemporary sound. The result: Tuareg desert rock with dragging drums, cutting guitar riffs and Tamasheq chants.

Kel Assouf are the people from nostalgia, the sons of eternity, of solitude and the desert. Kel Assouf was created in Brussels in 2006 around exiled Tuareg musician Anana Harouna. From the beginning the band built its identity around Tuareg culture, their battle against discrimination and their struggle for peace and respect.

In February 2016 Kel Assouf released a second album, named Tikounen, which stands for astonishment, perplexity, and expresses a cry of impotence in the face of the violence, injustice and pollution in the world.

With one foot in the desert and the other in the urban jungle, Anana writes about situations from the Sahara, Niger, about daily life, here and there, in simple and short phrasings similar to those of Japanese haikus, Anana sings his poetry for mankind and respect.

Since the first album Tin Hinane (IglooMondo, 2010), the band around Anana Harouna has changed but the spirit is still there. The Tuareg spirit has even grown thanks to the collaboration with singer Toulou Kiki. The collaboration with Tunisian producer Sofyann Ben Youssef has been extremely refreshing, submerging the music of Kel Assouf in modernity. With a production that is tradi-modern, at times hyper modern, he pushes the group to the forefront of the platoon of contemporary desert rock and amplifies the feeling of astonishment. The African rhythms played by rock musicians brings the music to the dance floor, somewhere in between London and Niamey.

Anana Harouna, founder and front man of the band, was born in Agadez in the north of Niger. Originating from a Tuareg society in the Sahara which went through a strong political marginalization, he went in exile with his family to Libya at the age of 12 and followed military training. At 17, he engaged himself into the first Tuareg rebellion in the 1990s. This rebellion was fought by young Tuareg against the States of Mali and Niger for the respect of nomad populations in the Sahara. In this period he found in music a way to denounce the injustice against his people without shedding any blood. Anana is a regular member of Tinariwen but with Kel Assouf, Anana expresses his own musical ideas, opinion and feeling

Anana Harouna – voice, guitar

Toulou Kiki – voice, percussion

Sofyann Ben Youssef – keys, guitar

Mathieu Mirol – bass

Olivier Penu – drums

The show is organised in collaboration with Zephyrus Records, Belgium.

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