Hailing from the town of Gao in north-eastern Mali, Songhoy Blues came together in Bamako naming themselves in celebration of their displaced Songhoy people and culture. Their break came in September 2013 when French music manager Marc-Antoine Moreau was in the city to scout for musical talent on behalf of Africa Express and subsequently the band were invited to record a song with Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs – the track, Soubour, ended up as a stand-out track on the Africa Express album, Maison des Jeunes.
Songhoy Blues’ debut album, Music In Exile, also produced by Zinner, was released to widespread acclaim in February of this year, and is set for release in the US on Atlantic Records in the spring. Mixing Malian groove with American guitar and grit, they are positioning themselves as quite the cross-over band, with elements of contemporary rock and hip-hop at its heart embellished with the influence of the songs and dances of Mali
The band, who have recently completed their first US tour supporting Alabama Shakes are now set to perform at Manchester’s Gorilla on 25 October as part of a UK headline tour. And their first US run of dates coincided with the release of a film featuring Songhoy Blues, documenting the current struggle faced by musicians in Mali. The film, They Will Have To Kill Us First, debuted at this year’s SxSW Festival.
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