Les Filles de Illighadad are a group that hail from the village of Illighadad in the region of Abalak. They present a curious and original approach to two very different sides of Tuareg music – dreamy ishumar acoustic guitar sessions, and the hypnotic polyphonic tende drum that inspires it. Their intoxicating debut album – out now on the reliably excellent Sahel Sounds – was recorded during long sessions in the sweltering heat of their hometown; a world far away from wi-fi where the suns’ passage, the movement of the animals and the sound of the crickets measures the length of the day.
The two young woman at the core of the group – guitarist Fatou Seidi Ghalia and vocalist Alamnou Akrouni – are proof that the heavily male-dominated guitar music of Niger might be becoming a thing of the past. Their raw, minimal and melancholy-laced sound is something of wonder – and it is a real pleasure to welcome to them to the UK for the first time as part of Counterflows 2017.