The Talent of Mariam Ahmed

by ptinti


25 year-old Mariam Ahmed is a guitar player from Agadez, Niger. Although women often feature prominently in Tuareg folk music, female guitar players are few and far between. I had the good fortune of meeting Mariam during a recent trip to Agadez. Here are some notes from our conversation, as well as video of Mariam and her cousin, Adam Aghali, performing on the rooftop of Radio Sahara.

AGADEZ, Niger — It was the same refrain every time I asked about Mariam Ahmed: A woman who plays guitar? I don’t think so.

But thanks to Chris Kirkley of the indispensable Sahel Sounds, I knew that such a woman was somewhere in Agadez. Chris posted an audio recording of Mariam in January 2014 and wrote the following:

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