Red Baraat, DJ Jimmy Singh, DJ Warp | Martyrs’ | International | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Wed., July 14, 8 p.m. 2010
Price: $15
They aren't the only so-called desert-blues band to emerge in the wake of Tinariwen's success, but Niger's ETRAN FINATAWA stand out as a multiethnic ensemble, including not just Kel Tamashek members (frequently referred to as Tuareg) but also Wodaabe—the latter are the fellows in feathered turbans and colorful face paint. Though the five-piece group's three Wodaabe musicians contributes a greater emphasis on percussion and an increased use of vocal polyphony in the call-and-response sections, Etran Finatawa's third album, Tarkat Tajje / Let's Go! (Riverboat), nonetheless relies on a bedrock sound similar to that of Kel Tamashek groups like Tinariwen—subdued but stinging guitar lines that stab out of and snake through loping, hypnotic grooves. The percussion creates a sonic depth of field it's easy to get lost in, with syncopated hand claps and the rattle of the akayaure (a kind of metal rattle or clapper tied to the leg) out front, the traditional Tuareg tende drum in the middle, and the muted clip-clopping and murky thumps of the azakalabo (a calabash floating in a bowl of water) behind everything. With only one lead guitar and one rhythm guitar—the bass is overdubbed on the album, and not part of the live show—Etran Finatawa can't match the mesmerizing atmospheric density of Tinariwen's music, but the way their guitars interlace with this matrix of polyrhythms is exhilarating in its own right. Red Baraat also plays Sunday at Folk & Roots Fest and Thursday at Summerdance.

—Peter Margasak



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