Latitude 2015

Songhoy Blues ignite a flame at Latitude 2015

Mali quartet bring their music to life before the festival crowd

It seems nigh on impossible to find a band who demonstrate as much enthusiasm as Songhoy Blues. If the unshakable grin on frontman Aliou Touré’s features is anything to go by, he’s having more fun than anyone.

In front of an instantly adoring audience, the group are in their element. Infectious bass licks and driving percussion meets echoing vocal chants and blazing guitar solos - the culture clash everyone’s been waiting for. Touré holds the grounds in the palm of his hand. From behind his guitar, the musician grooves and smoothly casts his spell upon his crowd. Then carefully placing down his instrument, he starts to dance - that’s when everything goes wild.

Energy washes through the tent like a tidal wave. Cheering, dancing, and all-out prancing, those gathered for Songhoy Blues are there for a celebration, and that’s exactly what they’re treated to. Favourites ‘Al Hassidi Terei’ and ‘Soubour’ echo from the stage in all their glory. The lyrics might be in a foreign language to most the crowd, but the feeling and the fervour is universal. Songhoy Blues play a set flooded with potency and dexterity. Every guitar solo is met with rapturous applause, every vocal cry echoed, every dance move mirrored.

From those shimmying and shaking at the tightly-packed stage front, to those strutting with all they’ve got at the forest’s edge, there’s seemingly no end to the extent to which Songhoy Blues’ magic can reach. In the picturesque lakeside setting, enjoyment has never sounded so natural.

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