Tag Archives: Mauritania

Mauritanian Artist Daby Toure Winner of World Music Category in the International Songwriting Competition

Paris-based Mauritanian musician and songwriter Daby Toure is the winner of the International Songwriting Competition in the World [music] category. Dino Miranda from Maputo in Mozambique won second place and Shahed Mohseni Zonoozi and Salar Hamzei from Tehran, Iran came in third.


Dino Miranda


Shahed Mohseni Zonoozi and Salar Hamzei


The Grand Prize is awarded to Canadian singer Matt Epp and Morocco-born Manitoba-raised 16-year old Faouzia for their co-written song “The Sound Ft. Faouzia.” The Grand Prize winners receive $25,000 in cash (USD) and over $45,000 in additional prizes.



In addition to the Grand Prize winner, many other won their respective categories in ISC. The 23 categories include all genres of contemporary music, from rock to pop to jazz and more.

For a complete list of ISC 2016 winners visit: http://www.songwritingcompetition.com/winners

Entries are now open for the 2017 competition. For more information and to enter, go to http://www.songwritingcompetition.com

headline photo: Daby Toure by York Tillyer


Acclaimed Mauritanian Musician Noura Mint Seymali to Perform in Philadelphia

Noura Mint Seymali

Crossroads Music will present Noura Mint Seymali, one of the leading acts from Mauritania, on Sunday, February 26, 2017.

Noura is a skilled ardin (a 9-string harp reserved only for women) player and vocalist. Her band features the psychedelic guitar lines delivered by her husband Jeiche Ould Chighaly.

The current band features a powerful rhythm section, composed of Ousmane Touré on bass and Matthew Tinari on drums. Noura Mint Seymali released Tzenni, her first full-length album widely available to international audiences in 2014. It was followed by Arbina in 2016.

7:30 pm
801 South 48th Street, Philadelphia


Transglobal World Music Chart for November 2016

Mauritanian musician, vocalist and innovator Noura Mint Seymali is the Transglobal World Music Chart’s number 1 artist this month.

1. Noura Mint Seymali – Arbina (Glitterbeat Records)



2. Constantinople & Ablaye Cissoko – Jardins Migrateurs (Ma Case)
3. Kayhan Kalhor, Aynur, Cemîl Qoçgirî & Salman Gambarov – Hawniyaz (Harmonia Mundi)
4. Kristi Stassinopoulou & Stathis Kalyviotis – Nyn (Riverboat Records)
5. Khmer Rouge Survivors – They Will Kill You, if You Cry (Glitterbeat Records)
6. Richard Bona & Mandekan Cubano – Heritage (Qwest Records)
7. Tanga – Madagascar: Le Trésor des Ancêtres (Buda Musique)
8. Refugees for Refugees – Amerli (Muziekpublique)
9. V.A. – Urgent Jumping!: East African Musiki wa Dansi Classics (Sterns Africa)
10. Tuuletar – Tules Maas Vedes Taivaal (Bafe’s Factory)

11. Jean-Guihen Queyras, Bijan Chemirani, Keyvan Chemirani & Sokratis Sinopoulos – Thrace: Sunday Morning Sessions (Harmonia Mundi)
12. Abou Diarra – Koya (Mix et Métisse)
13. Barcelona Gipsy balKan Orchestra – Del Ebro al Danubio)
14. Vieux Kanté – The Young Man’s Harp (Sterns Africa)
15. Orkesta Mendoza – ¡Vamos a Guarachar! (Glitterbeat Records)
16. Bitori – Legend of Funaná: The Forbidden Music of the Cape Verde Islands (Analog Africa)
17. Bonga – Recados de Fora (Lusafrica)
18. Harold López-Nussa – El Viaje)
19. Çiğdem Aslan – A Thousand Cranes)
20. Kepa Junkera & Sorginak – Maletak)

21. Moussu T e lei Jovents – Navega!
22. Terrakota – Oxalá (Terrakota)
23. Dawda Jobarteh – Transitional Times
24. Calypso Rose – Far from Home
25. Jitka Šuranská Trio – Divé Husy
26. Metá Metá – MM3 (Jazz Village)
27. Ana Alcaide – Leyenda (ARC Music)
28. Alsarah & The Nubatones – Manara
29. Constantinople – Passages
30. Söndörgő – Live Wires

31. Waed Bouhassoun – La Voix de la Passion
32. Bashka – Fihi Ma Fihi (Orient Records)
33. Zomba Prison Project – I Will Not Stop Singing (Six Degrees Records)
34. Fungistanbul – Phenology (Hits on Air Music)
35. Kolektif İstanbul – Pastırma Yazı (Ada Müzik)
36. Quique Sinesi – Cuchichiandos: Legizamón x Sinesi, Vol. II (Sura Music)
37. Quintet Bumbac – Libre Voyage dans les Musiques des Balkans (Collectif Çok Malko)
38. Acid Arab – Musique de France (Crammed Discs)
39. Mabiisi – Mabiisi (Akwaaba Music)
40. Bossacucanova – The Best of Bossacucanova (Six Degrees Records)


Ferociously Cool Noura Mint Seymali

Noura Mint Seymali – Arbina (Glitterbeat Records, 2016)

I remember looking at the photograph of Noura Mint Seymali on the cover of the 2010 Glitterbeat Record release of Tzenni. Posed with her ardin or four stringed lute, Ms. Seymali possesses this little mysterious smile and an I-know-something-you-don’t-know twinkle in her eye. Then I listened to this remarkable Mauritanian griot singer, musician and songwriter and I knew what that smile and twinkle meant – this woman it utterly kickass.

Wrapped up in Moorish musical traditions, draped in desert blues and ornamented in some psychedelic rock, Ms. Seymali’s sound is razor sharp and savagely hip. So it must be that all the music junkies out there are jumping for joy because Glitterbeat is set to release Ms. Seymali’s upcoming Arbina on October 14th. I can admit that after I received my own advance review copy and gave it a listen it’s powerful, mesmerizing and utterly righteous.

Vocals belted out against a backdrop of the kora-like ardin, searing guitar licks offered up by Ms. Seymali’s husband and fellow griot Jeiche Ould Chighaly, thrumming bass lines by Ousmane Toure and rocking drums by Matthew Tinari, who is also the recording’s producer, puts Arbina squarely in the wickedly good section of desert blues/rock genre.

From the opening title track “Arbina,” Ms. Seymali and company savage out a sound that’s hypnotic and intensely satisfying. Comprised mostly of praise songs in the griot tradition where poetry and praise go hand in hand, Arbina sets us poor listeners on a path of fierce guitar laced grooves as in “Na Sane” and “Suedi Koum.”

Tracks like “Richa” and “Ya Demb” seems to shimmer up from the very earth they are that good. If that’s weren’t enough, tracks like “Ghlana,” “Soub Hanak” and the richly lush “Ghizlane” thrum with all the power of the ancient griots.

Arbina is fiery and ferociously cool. Arbina no doubt will earn Ms. Seymali another Best Female Artist in North Africa award from AFRIMA (All Africa Music Awards) to go along with the one she earned in 2014. Well earned, indeed.

Buy Arbina in the americas

Buy Arbina in Europe


Noura Mint Seymali Releases Na Sane Music Video

Noura Mint Seymali
Noura Mint Seymali

Mauritanian sensation Noura Mint Seymali has released a new music video titled “Na Sane”. This song appears in Noura Mint Seymali’s upcoming album “Arbina” scheduled for release on September 16th, 2016.

The video was directed by Loïc Hoquet. Noura Mint Seymali’s band includes Noura Mint Seymali on vocals and ardin; Jeiche Ould Chighaly on guitar; Ousmane Touré on bass; and Matthew Tinari on drums.

Arbina is Noura Mint Seymali’s second international recording. Her previous album was the critically acclaimed Tzenni.

Buy Arbina


Artist Profiles: Malouma


Malouma Mint Moktar Ould Meidah was born in the 1960s in Mederdra (Traiza), into a family of griots (singers who work as oral historians). Her life seemed all mapped out. The daughter of Moktar Ould Meidah, a prominent traditional musician as well as a highly skilled poet, she is also the granddaughter of Mohamed Yahya Ould Boubane, another virtuoso of words and the tidinit (a small traditional guitar used by griots).

She grew up in Charatt (a small town near Mederdra), where her parents taught her the basics of traditional harp (ardin) playing. She started to sing at a very young age, and performed for the first time at the age of 12, an age when tradition requires that the daughters of important families be already prepared for a ‘responsible’ life (marriage and self-sufficiency).

Malouma started to draw from the traditional repertoire that her parents, especially her father, had enriched. At the age of fifteen, she was already an accomplished griot, not only accompanying her parents but performing whole concerts on her own. At the same period, along with her father, she started to listen to songs by Um Kulthum, Adbel Hlim Hafez, Fairouz, Nasri Cherns, Dine, Sabah etc. And as she grew up she also discovered another musical style that was not far from the music she mastered: blues.

She wrote short songs that were quite popular with young girls. But the weight of tradition pushed her into the fetters of marriage and conformism.

It took until the late eighties for her to appear on stage again in Mauritania. With a new repertoire, she brought about a true musical revolution among singers. Such pieces as “Habibi habeytou”, “cyam ezzaman tijri”, “awdhu billah”… disrupted the established order. Malouma was aiming to impose a style that drew from the purest tradition and modernized it.

The research she undertook was centered on a successful blending of traditional and modern music, the latter providing its instruments and its approach, the first its rich repertoire. Malouma thus became a singer-songwriter, introducing a unity of theme in her songs (oughniya) and not refraining from addressing subjects that were more or less taboo-such as love, conjugal life or inequalities.

In her commitment to encourage justice and equality in Mauritania, she involved herself in activist songs to stir people into action, singing for the AIDS campaigns, for the vaccination of children, for the elimination of illiteracy and for the promotion of women, among other issues.

While her music soon became popular among the youth (girls and boys), it was rejected at first by the dominating class (a few intellectual groups, griots opinion- and decision-makers. She was introducing too many things at once: the evolution of both customs and culture, even questioning the traditional social order and giving artists an importance they had not had before.

In all these years denouncing inequalities, oppression and injustice, she has become ‘the singer of the people’ (mutribatou echa’b). For all her commitment, she has not forgotten her prime goal, her musical research, to open Mauritanians to the outside world and to make foreigners discover the treasures of her country’s national heritage. “Rasm”, “jraad”, “tchaa’i”, “gnoni”, “nouka”… and many more “achwaar” (traditional pieces) are reinterpreted and reinvented.

Malouma has gone even further, trying to harmonize traditional pentatonic Mauritanian music with other folk music forms, notably blues. She has met a group of young Mauritanian musicians, the Sahel Hawl Blues, and they have soon tied bonds. Driven by the same concern-to be both rooted in traditional music and open to modern western music-the band, made up of ten young musicians, has integrated all the components of modern-day Mauritania: rich inspirational sources and multiple cultures (Moorish, Fulani, Toucouleur, Soninke, Wolof, Haratin).

Malouma is a national pride and role model, and she has many followers.


Desert of Eden (1998)
Dunya (Marabi, 2006)
Nour (2007)
Knou (2014)


Artist Profiles: Daby Touré

Daby Toure - Photo by Nicolas Diop
Daby Toure – Photo by Nicolas Diop

Daby Toure had a rural upbringing in Mauritania, but this first solo album betrays his Senegalese family roots. After touring in support of Peter Gabriel’s Still Growing Up tour, along with appearing at WOMAD 2004 in Reading, England, Toure’s music found a bigger audience.

Touré’s father tried to push him away from music, but Daby snatched secret guitar time, and in 1989 his brothers invited him to join their Toure Kunda band in Paris. Later, Daby formed Toure Toure with his cousin Omar.

Daby writes his own material, and is a virtual one-man band, layering up all of his own guitar, bass and percussion parts. His co-producer and keyboardist is Dufay, whose contributions are always tastefully shaded with sampled loops and echo-percussion, enhances Toure’s sound. Toure made his CD debut with Dufay on Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records with the release of Diam (Peace).

In 2007, Daby released Stereo Spirit on Real World Records, and continued to earn praise from international media. Two years later, in 2009, Daby teamed up with African-American bluesman Skip McDonald to record an EP titled Call My Name.

After leaving Real World, Daby signed to Universal Music. His 2012 album, release Lang (u) age saw Daby singing largely in French and led to collaborations with French pop icons Francis Cabrel and Maxime Le Forestier.

Daby Touré returned in 2015 with a new album on Cumbancha titled .


Laddé (1999 / USA: Tinder, 2000)
Diam (Real World Records, 2004)
Touré Touré (2006)
Stereo Spirit (Real World Records, 2007)
In session, with Skip McDonald (2008)
Call My Name, with Skip McDonald (2009)
Lang Age (2013)
Amonafi (Cumbancha, 2015)


Artist Profiles: Aicha Mint Chighaly

Aicha Mint Chighaly
Aicha Mint Chighaly

Aicha Mint Chighaly was born in 1963 in Kaedi, Mauritania. Her father, Yuba Al-Mokhtar ould Chighaly, was one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. In 1982, the family Chighaly moved from the Senegal border area to the Mauritanian capital, Nuakchott.

Aicha became a singer and ardin (Mauritanian harp-lute) player. In 1996, she started her international career. She released her first CD for the Inedit collection of the Maison Des Cultures du Monde in Paris.


Azawan, the art of the griots