Album Review

Seymali, Noura Mint – “Tzenni” – [Glitter Beat]

Thurston Hunger   11/14/2014   12-inch, International

Packaging is almost as good as the tunes on this,
including song-by-song descriptions for this mighty
Mauritanian musician. In addition to having pipes
of pure glory, Noura also plays the ardine, a 7 or 9-string
harp-like instrument (sounds akin to the kora on here,
check that artwork for how beautiful it and she are!).
As the liner notes indicate this is a family affair,
songs of her father and her grandmother are summoned
while her husband, Jeiche Ould Chighaly, just slays
on the guitar. He’s got the kind of twirling effects
that add equal parts fuzz and moisture so it really sticks
to your ears. Quick spirals of
sounds that play so well off the ardine (which comes in
acoustic and electric). Noura almost scat sings on El
Barm, and the title track lives up to its dervish
underpinnings. All of the songs here hit the ancient
power and also a modern psych/blues revival (the
ardine a pentatonic instrument). Her voice rises
above and is often joined by backup singers (she
herself was a back-up singer to her step-mom at
the age of 13, so she knows the importance of
having harmony on stage). The opening and closing
tracks elevate to mystical musical rapture. Dig
the drum beat dropping on the latter. The album
while well-produced, retains a ragged swagger
as if someone just handed you a cell-phone memory
stick from a party they attended the night before.
Aces on this one… That’s Mauritainment!

-Thurston Hunger

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