• Mauritanian artist Noura Mint Seymali performs at New York City's Webster Hall during globalFEST on Jan. 12, 2014.
    Hide caption
    Mauritanian artist Noura Mint Seymali performs at New York City's Webster Hall during globalFEST on Jan. 12, 2014.
    Ebru Yildiz
  • Seymali's band includes her husband, guitarist and fellow griot Jeich Ould Chighaly.
    Hide caption
    Seymali's band includes her husband, guitarist and fellow griot Jeich Ould Chighaly.
    Ebru Yildiz
  • During her shows, Seymali plays an amplified ardine: a harp-like stringed gourd instrument akin to the West African kora.
    Hide caption
    During her shows, Seymali plays an amplified ardine: a harp-like stringed gourd instrument akin to the West African kora.
    Ebru Yildiz

1 of 3

View slideshow i

globalFEST

Noura Mint Seymali 2014

Listen

Listen44:56

Loading…

Touareg guitar rock, desert blues: Whatever you call it, it's shorthand for a certain style from the Sahara that has triumphed at festivals and venues across Europe and North America, thanks to acts like Tinariwen and Bombino.

Most of the "desert blues" bands, though, hail from Mali, and it's much rarer to encounter musicians from the little-known nation of Mauritania. Tucked between Algeria, Mali, Senegal and the disputed Western Sahara territory, Mauritania has been ruled largely by military juntas since 1984, and is now under ongoing threat from Islamic terrorist groups operating in the region. Mauritania provides an important cultural bridge between Arabic and Berber North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

Vocalist Noura Mint Seymali's music exemplifies not just those crosscurrents, but larger, global pop-culture tropes as well: With her smoky-rich voice, this griot artist tips toward reggae, flamenco and rock along with traditional Sahelian tonalities and rhythms in a band that includes her husband, guitarist (and fellow griot) Jeich Ould Chighaly. Though Seymali is still a newcomer to American audiences, she won't likely be an unknown for long.

Set List
  • "El Mougelmen"
  • "Tzenni"
  • "Getma"
  • "El Barm"
  • "Tikifit"
  • "Subhan Allah"
  • "Zrag"
  • "El Madi"
  • "Doublah"
[+] read more[-] less

More From World

Rodrigo Amarante performs a Tiny Desk Concert. Sarah Tilotta/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Sarah Tilotta/NPR

Tiny Desk Concerts

Rodrigo Amarante

A veteran of Little Joy and Los Hermanos, Amarante makes warm, tender music as a solo artist.

Yasmine Hamdan performs at a Tiny Desk Concert in April 2014. Jim Tuttle/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jim Tuttle/NPR

Tiny Desk Concerts

Yasmine Hamdan

The Lebanese singer-songwriter is one of the most groundbreaking musicians in the Middle East.

Rodrigo y Gabriela in a scene from their new video for the song "The Russian Messenger." Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist

All Songs TV

Rodrigo y Gabriela, 'The Russian Messenger'

The duo's latest video is a no-frills performance showcasing their phenomenal guitar work.

Sandeep Das, Shane Shanahan, Mark Suter and Joseph Gramley, percussionists in the Silk Road Ensemble, perform at ACME Studio in Brooklyn, New York, for a Field Recordings video shoot. Mito Habe-Evans/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Mito Habe-Evans/NPR

Field Recordings

A Field Recording Bonus Track: The Silk Road Swings

Four talented percussionists create deep grooves out of their Silk Road Ensemble collaboration.

Back To Top