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Songhoy Blues - Optimisme

Songhoy Blues - Optimisme

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Songhoy Blues make a welcome return to bring the Malian shimmer to guitar music, harder-rocking this time but still the same Songhoy sweetness.


Sons of Mali. Groundbreaking Artists. Refugees. Virtuosos. Survivors. Rock Stars. Unforgettable and undeniable, SONGHOY BLUES represent the future of African rock n’ roll. Now they return with their third album 'Optimisme'. 

+ Limited Indie shop version LP is pressed on gold coloured vinyl.

Arguably one of the most successful and exciting bands to emerge from Africa in recent years. The lead track from the album is called  'Badala', Songhoy for “We Don’t Give a F*ck”. This follows the infectious and anthemic first single, Worry.

Talking about the track, Aliou from the band said:
"When you go out to clubs in Soho, London or New York, you hear hard rock music that can make people move. We wanted to make a rock club crowd get involved with Songhoy Blues. It’s about Songhoy Blues reaching even further than before. We want to see people jumping on a Songhoy Blues track, like they were at a concert. Matt Sweeney said something important the day before we went into the studio. He said ‘We need to make a real Songhoy Blues album. Songhoy Blues stage energy is crazy. Why don’t you put that energy straight in the song?’ That’s what we did."

This 11-song, multilingual album marks a real musical breakthrough. Musically harder, steeped in deep traditions of classic Malian music and desert blues and fused with an urgent and super-charged sound of now, the album was produced by Matt Sweeney of beloved indie rockers Chavez, who’s worked with a host of celebrated artists including Johnny Cash, Run the Jewels, El-P, Cat Power and Will Oldham, and recorded & mixed by Daniel Schlett (The War on Drugs, Modest Mouse, Ghostface Killah) in Brooklyn, NY.

Formed almost ten years ago, born from civil war and a country divided by ideology, Songhoy Blues have travelled a long way, in every sense. Surely one of the greatest live bands on the planet, their dynamic and tenaciously unique style has enthralled audiences across the spectrum, bringing their musical culture to people across the globe.

First attracting the attention of Damon Albarn’s Africa Express and label Transgressive from their performance on the acclaimed ‘Maison Des Jeunes’ record, the band went into the studio with Nick Zinner producing their debut LP, ‘Music in Exile’, beginning a touring cycle that soon took them from the 80 capacity Servants Jazz Quarters in Dalston to Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage and the Royal Albert Hall. Their second album, ‘Résistance’, produced by Neil Comber (MIA, Gengahr), broadened the palette sonically and celebrated its diversity featuring the likes of Iggy Pop and Elf Kid.

Appearing in 'They Will Have To Kill Us First', an award-winning documentary film centred around the situation in Mali, acting as spokespersons for WaterAID, performing at the UN Climate Action Summit, forming a key part of The Imperial War Museum’s “Culture Under Attack”, performing a series-stealing show at the Nile Rodgers curated Meltdown Festival at London’s South Bank in 2019 and performing in the BBC’s “Noughts And Crosses” show, they are always working, campaigning and, bringing joy and pointing to salvation through their music.

Praise for Songhoy's last album, Résistance:
"'Resistance' bubbles with zest and vitality!" - Mojo.
"This follow-up is even better [than 2015's Music In Exile], their skittery rhythms making fuller use of R&B grooves, brass and funky licks." - Uncut.
"They hit a James Brown groove on Bamako, use fiddle on the Ali Farka-style Hometown, and let loose a children’s choir on One Colour, a delightful closer to a joyous, eclectic album." - Observer.
"Where British guitar bands like the Arctic Monkeys have failed in enabling their audiences to dance in any way more stylised than an up-down jump, this guitar band play songs you could very nearly jive to, partner in hand." - Drowned In Sound.
"Their original influences were desert blues and traditional Songhai styles, but here these are transformed by tight, attacking riffs, jangling funk guitar work and the addition of brass and keyboards." - Guardian.
"Songhoy Blues have once again produced an album for all. This is quite simply a record for anyone ready to get down to some beautiful rhythms." - Clash.

1. Badala
2. Assadja
3. Fey Fey
4. Gabi
5. Barre
6. Pour Toi
7. Bon Bon
8. Worry
9. Korfo
10. Dournia
11. Kouma

Artist: Songhoy Blues
Label: Transgressive
Catalogue: TRANS469X
Barcode: 5400863036492
Format: LP or CD
Release Date: 23rd October 2020
“By keeping the sound refreshingly straight-forward, the emphasis has been thrown on the band’s knack for hitting the riffs and finding a groove.”

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Drift Recommends

Alongside a weekly playlist of new and old tracks (tune in via the news section), all of the Drift staff also contribute to a weekly 'Drift Recommends' playlist.

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