Ladies Love Mazan Daga de l’Aïr

by ptinti

Beacon

Mazan Daga de l’Aïr is an up-and-coming Hausa rock band from Agadez, Niger. The group combines the guitar riffs and idioms associated with Nigerien “orchestres” with rhythms and tempos more commonly found in contemporary pop from Niger’s southern neighbors. The result is not only singable and danceable, it apparently drives local women crazy. Here is some video I shot during a recent trip to Agadez, and a three-track Mazan Daga de l’Aïr mixtape.

AGADEZ, Niger — Of all the cities I have visited in the Sahara and Sahel, Agadez might just be the most treacherous… musically speaking. To walk from a given place to another on a weekend afternoon or evening is to risk a live music encounter

Local drum ensembles, guitar-driven rock bands, Tuareg folk groups, and traditional horn players all lurk in the city’s sonic shadows, where patrons and benefactors include drug kingpins, prominent businessmen, traditional leaders and everyday citizens.

I stumbled across Mazan Daga de l’Aïr walking back to my hotel after photographing a marriage at the Palace of the Sultan of the Aïr (click here for photos and music from that event),  knowing full well that my earbuds might lead me off my intended path.

On this particular day, a band was playing a party in honor of a bride to-be. Though it was around 3pm, when the desert heat in Agadez has reached its most oppressive, a large group of adoring young women had gathered at the widened end of an alleyway. The fuss, I quickly learned, was aboutMazan Daga de l’Air, undisputed heartthrobs of Agadez’s Hausa rock scene.

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