Etran de L’Aïr & Rosali

Date

July 11, 2024

Time

8:00 pm

Location

The Aquarium
226 Broadway, Fargo, ND

Cost

$15.00
  • Doors: 7:00 pm
  • Audience: Ages 21+
  • Seating: General Admission

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About

Rosali:

North Carolina-based artist Rosali makes songs that take their time in revealing their full power. What might first appear to be restrained, introspective compositions will stretch slowly outward, snagging your attention with a subtly sideways guitar lead or an exceptionally raw lyric you didn’t catch the first time around. A child of two musicians, Rosali grew up as part of a large family that sang together and taught themselves various instruments, finding the earliest forms of her musical voice harmonizing and making up songs with her sisters. As an adult, Rosali merged this musical upbringing with an active involvement in Philly’s experimental and D.I.Y. community. Her 2016 solo debut Out of Love was released on Siltbreeze, a long-running label that champions abstract noise and challenging listening. While Rosali’s earliest work was far nearer to folk-informed rock than harsh sonics, it held an intensity of its own in its strange angles and unexpected vulnerability. Second album Trouble Anyway expanded on the debut with clearer production and more involved arrangements. A host of friends from Philly’s freak scene contributed to the album, including appearances from ambient harpist/pianist Mary Lattimore, Purling Hiss/Birds of Maya shredder Mike Polizze, glistening lap-steel from Mike Sobel, understated percussion from War On Drugs drummer Charlie Hall, and several others. Trouble Anyway brought Rosali a new level of exposure, with a flood of positive critical press and tours supporting acts like The Weather Station and J Mascis. Along with her solo work, Rosali’s output has materialized as a broad spectrum of disparate collaborations, including the hypnotic garage trio Long Hots, slow-burning psych scrawl in duo Monocot with Cloud Nothings drummer Jayson Gerycz, and Wandering Shade, a three guitar improv act with Headroom’s Kryssi Battalene and Thrill Jockey artist Sarah Louise. Aspects of the more free-floating side of Rosali’s oeuvre inform her songwriting process, with songs often emerging from the ether of lengthy improvisation sessions, new ideas congealing through a boundless exploration of possibilities. Brought to life with help from Omaha’s David Nance Group as the backing band, 2021’s song-centered No Medium was a sharply realized example of Rosali’s distinctive synthesis of metered songwriting and unfettered searching. Around the same time, she offered a completely separate side of her craft with cassette release Chokeweed, a collection of auburn-hued solo guitar improvisations. She followed that in 2023 with the acclaimed improvisational guitar album Variable Happiness released under the moniker Edsel Axle. In whatever form it takes, Rosali’s softly glowing music is malleable and deceptively fluid, able to appear patient and refined or at the edge of unraveling depending on how closely you chose to look. Bite Down, Rosali’s new album made in collaboration with Omaha’s finest David Nance, James Schroeder, and Kevin Donahue, and Destroyer collaborator, Ted Bois is due out March 22, 2024 on Merge Records.

 

Etran de L’Aïr:

Etran de L’Aïr (or “stars of the Aïr region”) welcomes you to Agadez, the capital city of Saharan rock. Playing for over 25 years, Etran has emerged as stars of the local wedding circuit. Beloved for their dynamic repertoire of hypnotic solos and sun schlazed melodies, Etran stakes out a place for Agadez guitar music. Playing a sound that invokes the desert metropolis, “Agadez” celebrates the sounds of all the dynamism of a hometown wedding.

Etran is a family band composed of brothers and cousins, all born and raised in the small neighborhood of Abalane, just in the shadow of the grand mosque. Sons of nomadic families that settled here in the 1970s fleeing the droughts, they all grew up in Agadez. The band was formed in 1995 when current band leader Moussa “Abindi” Ibra was only 9 years old. “We only had one acoustic guitar,” he explains, “and for percussion, we hit a calabash with a sandal.” Over the decades, the band painstakingly pieced together gear to form their band and built an audience by playing everywhere, for everyone. “It was difficult. We would walk to gigs by foot, lugging all our equipment, carrying a small PA and guitars on our backs, 25 kilometers into the bush, to play for free…there’s nowhere in Agadez we haven’t played.”

From the days of the Trans-Saharan caravan in the 14th century to a modern-day stopover for Europe-bound migrants, Agadez is a city that stands at the crossroads, where people and ideas come together. Understandably, it’s here where one of the most ambitious Tuareg guitar has taken hold. Agadez’s style is the fastest, with frenetic electric guitar solos, staccato crash of full drum kits, and flamboyant dancing guitarists. Agadez is the place where artists come to cut their teeth in a lucrative and competitive winner-take-all scene. Guitar bands are an integral part of the social fabric, playing in weddings, baptisms, and political rallies, as well as the occasional concert.

Whereas other Tuareg guitarists look to Western rock, Etran de L’Aïr play in a pan-African style that is emblematic of their hometown, citing a myriad of cultural influences, from Northern Malian blues, Hausa bar bands, to Congolese Soukous. It’s perhaps this quality that makes them so beloved in Agadez. “We play for the Tuareg, the Toubou, the Zarma, the Hausa,” Abindi explains. “When you invite us, we come and play.” Their music is rooted in celebration, and invokes the exuberance of an Agadez wedding, with an overwhelming abundance of guitars, as simultaneous solos playfully pass over one another with a restrained precision, forceful yet never overindulgent.

Recorded at home in Agadez with a mobile studio, their eponymous album stays close to the band’s roots. Over a handful of takes, in a rapid-fire recording session, “Agadez” retains all the energy of a party. Their message too is always close to home. Tchingolene (“Tradition”) recalls the nomad camps, with a modern take on traditional takamba rhythms transposed to guitars. The dreamy ballad Toubouk Ine Chihoussay (“The Flower of Beauty”) dives into call and response lyrics, and solos that dance effortlessly over the frets. On other tracks like Imouwizla (“Migrants”), Etran addresses immigration with the driving march parallels the nomads’ plight with travelers crossing the desert for Europe. Yet even at its most serious, Etran’s music is engaged and dynamic, reminding us that music can transmit a message while lighting up a celebration. This is music for dancing, after all.