A Night in Timbuktu with the Tandina Family, part II

September 3, 2010

On the way to Timbuktu on the Niger


Abba Tandina, the patriarch of the family (see previous post), appeared discreetly a couple of hours into the jam session and began playing a beat up electric guitar only once we’d all had tea. Distinguished and laconic, once the guitar was in his hands he played long, entrancing pentatonic grooves for his wife Bientou to sing over and his young sons to sustain by beating out the rhythms. I was there in front of Abba, following, at times painstakingly, his riffs.
I love these recordings. Slightly off key guitars fed through worn amps, kids playing percussion and the wife singing, and of course the din of everyday life in the background – there’s an earthiness that just can’t be had if the recording conditions had been more optimum!

My favorite groove of the bunch. Took me a while to get my head around it…

Track 1 – Abba Tandina, Bientou Garba, and Family


Track 2 – Abba Tandina, Bientou Garba, and Family


Track 3 – Abba Tandina, Bientou Garba, and Family

And lastly a Timbuktu version of Guantanamera with me singing a couple of verses of Blind Willie McTell when a microphone was thrust in my face!

Guantanamera Tomboctou – Abba Tandina, Bientou Garba, and Family

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