talnational

Thanks to a string of number ones and prominent television appearances, Niger collective Tal National are already household names in their native land. So why does third album ‘Kaani’ represent such an important leap forward for the colourful, constantly rotating troupe? On a personal level, it’s their sole international release thus far, coming after producer Jamie Carter passed these eight tracks onto Fat Cat Records in Brighton, thousands of miles from the mosquito infested studio where they were birthed. But most vitally, it’s an opportunity to showcase the fervent, carefree, music-loving side to one of the world’s traditionally most impoverished states.

Vampire Weekend’s Afrobeat influenced debut album is a natural reference point for those uninitiated into West African music, the arid highlife guitar tones and relentless talking drum pops bearing some resemblance to the New Yorkers’ early work. From the unconventional drum signatures of its title track to the frantically picked strings on ‘Wongharey’, each exotically fragranced instrumental sequence belongs to a separate culture, be it Tuareg, Songhai, Fulani or Huasa. Distinct and impenetrable alone, but in unison they make ‘Kaani’ ebb and flow like the tide that escapes their landlocked spiritual home.dot