Tal National

Hailing from Niamey, the capital city of Niger, West Africa, the large-ensemble band Tal National were formed in 2000 by charismatic ringleader and West African guitar master Hamadal Issoufou Moumine, also known as Almeida. Backed by anywhere from five to 12 musicians and singers, Almeida grew Tal National to be hugely popular on a local level through constant regional touring and ceaselessly energetic performances, happening as many as five nights a week and going for as long as five hours per show. Their first album, Apokte, was released in 2006 and they followed in 2008 with the better-recorded A-Na Waya, an album that established them as the premier band of their region, becoming hugely successful in Niger and reaching a greater audience elsewhere with the help of three different YouTube videos. In 2011, Tal National set out to record their third album, Kaani, put to tape in a dilapidated studio building with help of Chicago engineer Jamie Carter, who had also traveled to Niger to work on A-Na Waya. The group signed to FatCat Records in April of 2013, and Kaani's international release helped the band tour outside of its country. With the widespread critical success of Kaani under their belt, Tal National re-enlisted Carter to produce their follow-up, Zoy Zoy, which FatCat released in the spring of 2015. Zoy Zoy further expanded their international reach, and was supported by several tours of the U.S. Bringing Carter back to Niamey for yet another collaboration, they recorded Tantabara, their third outing for FatCat, which was released in February 2018. ~ Fred Thomas

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