Part of Sublime Frequencies‘ most popular series, Guitars From Agadez Vol. 3 is being reissued after instantly selling out during its original release in 2010. Group Inerane is from Niger’s Tuareg guitar scene, and this LP is a triumph from guitarist Bibi Ahmed and guitarist Koudede Maman, who is considered legendary for his Tuareg guitar lineage. Though Maman’s addition to Group Inerane arose after the death of the original second guitarist, Adi Mohammed, who was shot during rebellion fights, the group’s perseverance is a true testament to the strength of the Tuareg people. This strength clearly inspires Ahmed and Maman on Vol. 3, taking listeners through a haze of blues, infectious rock and hollered vocals that cry out against political oppression and are created from revolution, with a strong sense of hope and resilience behind the music. Having been recorded on location in Niger’s capital city of Niamey, right after the military junta had overthrown President Mamadou Tandja, the songs have a politically charged backbone that make them much stronger.
Starting with the murky medley of bluesy guitars, incoherently soulful vocals and a minimalist drum beat, “Telalit” starts Vol. 3 off strong, sounding like a familiar classic rock song with many compelling cultural twists in sound from the Tuareg guitarists. Similarly, “Alemin” represents the commanding nature of Tuareg music, meshing crooning vocals with Tom Petty-ish guitar riffs that bounce back and forth off of one another and encompass the track completely. With twangy guitar licks that sound straight out of classic bluegrass or country, Ahmed and Maman manage to merge the cowboy Western vibe with the Tuareg sound to create bouncing, looping, guitar-laden beats that make it clear why Vol. 3 was such a quick sell for Sublime Frequencies.
A purely classic rock vibe propels “Golf” forward, enhanced by faded vocals and heavier percussion, with several guitar melodies intertwining with one another. Closing out Vol. 3 with “Deran Deran,” slightly deeper vocals create a circular rhythm, along with looping guitars and soft percussion. Telling stories of political struggle and oppression, Group Inerane’s meshing of genres speaks volumes about the group’s tradition and the overwhelming feeling of hope and resistance that empowers the band during hard times.