Kel Assouf means both “those with nostalgia” and “sons of eternity” in the Touareg language Tamasheq. The group came together around the exiled Touareg musician Anana Harouna in Brussels in 2006. From the beginning, Kel Assouf built its identity around two central ideas, the promotion of Touareg culture and the struggle against discrimination.
With this new album, “Tikounen” (surprise), Kel Assouf want to express the stupefaction and perplexity created by a world where war, injustice and pollution are running wild. With one foot in the desert and the other in the urban jungle, Anana writes about the Sahara, Niger and everyday life both there and in Europe.
Using short phrases similar to Japanese haikus, Anana sings his poetry about humanity and respect. The result is a powerful sound with trailing drums, precise guitar riffs and singing in Tamasheq. Since the first album “Tin Hinane” (IGLOOMONDO – 2010), Anana has introduced a new formation that has been completed by the arrival of Toulou Kiki, the protagonist from Abderrahmane Sissako’s film “Timbuktu”. She enriches the feminine tradition of the Touareg culture.
The Tunisian producer and musician Sofyann Ben Youssef brings new invigoration to Kel Assouf by creating a distinctive trad-modern sound. One can even talk of a hyper-modern sound on the edges of today’s Touareg music production. The African trance rhythms played by rock musicians transport us to a dancefloor somewhere between London and Niamey – a powerful groove machine!