Sponsored by Tim & Dorothea Coy, Bob Faircloth, and HunterMaclean
Partial support by Beyond Exceptional Dentistry
In this co-bill, two distinct storytelling traditions come together in the desert blues and tende of Niger and the blues of the American South.
Les Filles de Illighadad come from a secluded commune in central Niger, far off in the scrubland deserts at the edge of the Sahara. Fatou Seidi Ghali, lead vocalist and guitarist, is one of the only female Tuareg guitarists in Niger. Les Filles de Illighadad perform tende music, a traditional form dominated by women and played during celebrations and to pass the time during the late nights of the rainy season. Desert blues, synonymous with Tuareg music, evolved as men living in exile in the 70s in Libya and Algeria used guitar as a substitute for the call-and-response vocals of tende. In a place where gender norms have influenced the evolution of two the musics, Fatou and Les Filles de Illighadad are reasserting the role of tende in Tuareg guitar.
Hosted by the powerful blues singer-guitarist Corey Harris, True Blues chronicles the living culture of the blues in an evening of music and conversation. Harris will be joined by southwest Louisiana fiddler/accordionist extraordinaire Cedric Watson and Piedmont blues harmonica wizard Phil Wiggins. A guitarist, songwriter and bandleader, Harris began his career as a New Orleans street singer, forming a unique interpretation of the blues for which he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2007. Grammy Award-winning multi-instrumentalist Cedric Watson is no stranger to SMF audiences, having graced the festival as recently as 2019 with Jourdan Thibodeaux et Les Rodailleurs. NEA National Heritage Fellow Phil Wiggins is a master practitioner of the gentle and melodic Piedmont blues tradition, having last performed at SMF in 2009.
This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.