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For 15 years the Tuareg culture and music has been fascinating the world. Their quasi-sacred poetic songs inspire western songwriters like José Gonzales or Kurt Vile, while the virtuosity of their guitar playing fascinates guitar heroes like Jimmy Page, and finally the spirituality and meditative hypnotism impresses electronic music producers like Four Tet.
In two albums, Imarhan have become an emblem of the new Tuareg generation, breathing a new wind into the Assouf, the desert blues. When most of current Tuareg productions are exiled to the United States, the quintet led by Sadam is part of their culture, their city, the capital of the Tuareg people and open doors to the desert. By building their own studio in Tamanrasset in the middle of the Hoggar, Aboogi, Imarhan becomes the spokesmen of the young Tuareg lost generation forgotten by the governments of the area.
With this third album Aboogi, Imarhan manipulates the rites and ancestrality of the Tuaregs. By inviting the legendary Japonais (too soon deceased) and the musician and storyteller Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni of Tinariwen, Imarhan wants to unite. When they record with the Welsh Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, their brilliant and universal songwriting takes all its sense. By inviting the Sudanese singer Sulafa Elyas, we understand that Imarhan is open to all Africa, defenders of the Tuaregs but above all spokespersons of the new African generation.
We speak about the link to nature, oppression, lost youth but also and especially about hope and struggle on sandy guitar riffs, bewitching choirs and poetic lyrics.
Sulafa, Sudanese artist, 25 years old, has been singing and playing the oud from an early age. She received awards as a singer in the Al-Ahfad University for women and she started performing Sudanese traditional songs with her own musicians in Khartoum.
In 2019 she met the Algerian and Tuareg band Imarhan on tour in Sudan. They worked on two collaborations, « Lemonbarra » and « Taghadart ».
Sulafa travelled to Paris, invited by Imarhan management, to work on a writing residence at « Cité Internationale des Arts » late 2022 organised by « Visa pour la création » of l’Institut Français.
Threatened in her own country where arbitrariness was in power, Sulafa decided to stay in France to live in safety as a female artist.
During the Residence, the debut solo project of Sulafa became concrete : she needed to pay tribute to her country, to her community and finally to her own family.
Yet another, and the worst, violent conflict « started » in Spring 2023 in Khartoum and Sulafa’s family is in the middle of it. Sulafa believes that music shaped her personality and she chose to keep on singing to contribute to the positive impact of arts and spirituality on others… wherever she would be physically. Her heart remains in Sudan.
She is working on her debut EP to be released in 2024.