Songhoy Blues - Mercury Loungge - NYC

Review: Songhoy Blues presents ‘Music in Exile’ @ Roundhouse (London, 21st May 2016)

Although the story behind how Aliou Touré, Garba Touré, Oumar Touré and Nathaneal Dembélé became Songhoy Blues is not all roses — they were forced to fled to the capital Bamako after northern Mali was occupied by jihadists — their music is everything but sorrowful. A sold-out Roundhouse could not stop smiling to the mesmerising and joyous beats.


The kind of blues they play is colorful and cheerful, one you can dance along to — and vocalist Aliou Touré succeed in making everyone move by leading the crowd with his stunning dance moves. His enthusiasm is contagious; the stage his natural habitat.

However, from time to time Guitarist Garba Touré stole the scene with superlative Hendrix-like solos that left everyone astonished. Truth is, each member of the band is extremely talented and collectively they show their best when weaving together the sounds of each of their instruments.

The quartet performed as the last act of a longer show that took over the Roundhouse from 5 to 11pm. The night, billed Music in Exile, also featured performances by fellow Malians Blick Bassy, United Vibrations, Dave Okumu (The Invisible) and Fatoumata Diawara, the Ivory Coast-born Malian musician and actress, known for her sensuous high-pitched voice.

Fatoumata has remarkable energy. She sang, played, danced, and fired up the crowd before Songhoy took her place on stage. She returned later on, however, to help the boys perform their final song, in what turned out to be one of the best moments of the entire night.

That’s the power of music, as Aliou Touré stressed over and over during the exhibition: to bring people together in a joyous dance.