Sunday, June 04, 2017


“Timbuktu, situated in the Southern Sahara where the Niger River encroaches on the desert, is ‘the meeting place of the camel and the canoe.’

“The Tuaregs, nomads of the desert . . . are called ‘People of the Veil’ because the men wrap their heads in a native-woven cloth which is never removed, not even for eating. . . . They are fierce, aristocratic people, very proud of the brave deeds of the ancestors.

“In the war song on this record, the old man is singing of the bravery of a chief and his marvelous horse ‘Yali.’. . . .The musician accompanies his song with the tehardent, a three-stringed instrument resembling the ancient Egyptian lute.” —Laura C. Boulton, 1939 notes to Folkways album African Music, 1957

Tuareg Tribe • War Song • 1934

Get it: The Secret Museum of Mankind: Music of North Africa; it can also be found on Gay Life in Dikanka: R. Crumb’s Old-Time Favorites and African Music.

More information: Smithsonian Folkways


  1. Interesting! I hadn't heard a field recording of West African music prior to 1960.

    1. I found a little more information about this track, so changed the post around. I'm always struck by how "bluesy" it sounds . . . kind of like an Alan Lomax field recording, except from Timbuktu!