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Sahel Sounds

La Musique Electronique du Niger

by Mamman Sani

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Ian Mautner
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Ian Mautner Music that takes you on a journey. Healing sounds for your spirit. Favorite track: Salamatu.
Ian Goold
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Ian Goold Hypnotic, minimal and, quite frankly, not the kind of stuff you'd initially expect to have come out of late 70's West Africa. Think 'Dignity of Labour' period Human League transposed from Sheffield to Niamey. Remarkable. Favorite track: Lamru.
Rudy Carrera
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Rudy Carrera Most people (myself included) are woefully ignorant as to how creative and radically innovative African music was during the 1970s. Everyone knows the giants, like Fela or Tony Williams, but this album by Mammane Sani and his organ hold up rather nicely. Favorite track: Lamru.
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cca197 Excellent excellent excellent. Favorite track: Lamru.
Keith Birthday
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Keith Birthday I can't tell if he's a genius or a just some guy messing around with a church organ Favorite track: Kobon Lerai.
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Mammane Sani Abdullaye is a legendary name amongst Niger's avant garde. A pioneer of early West African electronic music, for over 30 years his instrumentals have filled the airwaves. The instrumental background drones of radio broadcasts and instrumental segue ways of TV intermissions borrow heavily from his repertoire. The dreamy organ instrumentals drift by sans comment, yet are known to all.
Mammane first found the organ in 1974.

Mammane's composes in technique that can only be called minimal, relying on the simplicity and space. It is a remarkable manipulation of sound that uses the silence to invoke the emptiness - a metaphoric desert soundscape. Unsurprisingly, his source material is folkloric Nigerien music, and many of the compositions on this record are reproductions of ancient songs brought into the modern age. Interpreting this rich and varied history of Niger's dance and song for the first time in contemporary musics, Mammane electrifies the nomadic drum of the tende, the polyphonic ballads of the Woddaabe, and the pastoral hymns of the Sahelian herders. Accompany this repertoire are a few compositions, such as Salamatu, the deeply personal love letter to an unrequited romance.

His first and only album was recorded in 1978. Mammane stepped into the studio of the National Radio with his organ, where it was transposed and overdubbed in two takes. In coordination with the Minister of Culture, the album was released in a limited series of cassettes showcasing modern Niger music. The cassette project unfortunately did not progress as planned, and merely a handful were released. Today his cassettes are rare objects, highly sought by fine art connoisseurs and experimental music collectors in Niamey.

Vinyl edition of 500 - available at


released April 5, 2013


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Mamman Sani Niamey, Niger

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