Songhoy Blues are easily one of the coolest and funkiest bands around at the moment. Their debut album ‘Music in Exile’ was inspired by their forced exile from their home country Mali during the civil conflict and the imposition of Sharia Law. A few years later the band delivers a powerful second album ‘Resistance’ and prove they aren’t finished yet. We caught up with lead singer Aliou Touré as they prepare to head to the US on tour….
We’re still loving ‘Resistance’ as an album, how did it come together creatively?
I mean creatively, all the band members have been very active in putting all of the tracks together. Even before the first album some of the tracks had already been written. Some of them were written on the road while on tour; on the plane, in hotels rooms etc. The ideas, production and arrangements come from different places and people. The album is a result of these experiences we’ve had over the last three or four years together as a band.
It feels like a natural continuation from ‘Music in Exile’ is this the case for you?
Yeah sure. When we released ‘Music in Exile’ it was a very simple record with not too many things going on because we hadn’t travelled around the world yet. ‘Music in Exile’ historically is also about the meaning of the band, it tells the story of how we got together and the situation we were going through at that point. Two or three years later with ‘Resistance’ you can see in the lyrics a continuation of these topics of what is happening in Mali and the rest of the world.
As you have escaped your situation would you say your music can be seen as celebratory?
Our music like every single kind of music was born from its own situation. I always ask myself if that situation didn’t happen would Songhoy Blues even exist? When we write a song we do think about the context of the lyrics but also the musicality and wanting to make people happy, move and enjoy life. We always try to put these two sides together and make something positive out of it. We want to send a message and we wan’t people to hear what we’ve got to say but when people don’t speak our language we have to make sure they will hear the music first of all and then try to understand the background of our music.
Your acoustic set at Rise Records in Bristol was great. How did that go down for you?
We did a couple of similar shows before but this gig was special. It was just a day before Glastonbury Festival and I had a couple of interviews to do in London before heading over to Bristol. I missed my train to Bristol and only arrived to the show for the last track. The crowd were great fun, they were very attentive and respectful of our music.
How do you feel going to America?
Yeah we can’t wait to go to America. We haven’t done much stuff in America since we’ve started as it’s mainly been all about the UK and Europe. It’s a huge country and we still have a lot to do. We can’t wait to explore new stuff over there.
Beyond that can we expect another album?
Of course. We are already working on the next one. We’re making sure it will be even better.
Buy tickets for Songhoy Blues at Doug Fir Lounge here.
Get listening to ‘Bamako’ from their lastest album ‘Resistance’ below: