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Al Bilali Soudan: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

For the second consecutive year, NPR teamed up withglobalFEST in January 2021 for a thrilling online music festival we callTiny Desk Meets globalFEST: three nights, nine bands, and a world of musical traditions hosted by African pop star Angélique Kidjo. Now, we're posting all the sets from our festival as individual Tiny Desk (home) concerts.

The family members of Al Bilali Soudan, from Timbuktu, Mali, are sought-after musicians and griots. Led by Abellow Yattara, the band is a torch-bearer of quintessentially Tamasheq (or Tuareg) music, shaped by a continuous exchange between the tehardent (lute), vocals and hand percussion. The words sung are similarly percussive, like an instrument themselves. This genre of music has been performed for half a millennium by Tuareg griots to celebrate the end of harvest and the changing seasons, heroic warriors and noble families. --The globalFEST staff


  • "Apolo"
  • "Djaba"

  • Abellaw Yattara: lead tehardent, vocals
  • Aboubacrine Yattara: bass tehardent
  • Mohamed Abellaw: tehardent, vocals
  • Ibrahim "Tchiale" Ag Aboubacrine: calabash
  • Hamadoun Guindo: calabash

  • Production: Christopher Nolan — Clermont Music
  • Audio: Yaya Diarra — Tadiazt
  • Audio Mastering: Dave Cook — Area 52 Studios
  • Direction: Mahadi "Kiss" Diouara — Millenium Communications
  • Special thanks: Abdallah Ag Amano — Tadiazt

  • Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST

    Tiny Desk Team

    Producer: Bob Boilen

    Video Producer: Maia Stern

    Audio Mixing: Josh Rogosin

    Tiny Production Team: Bobby Carter, Kara Frame, Joshua Bryant, Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis

    Executive Producer: Keith Jenkins

    Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

    globalFEST Artistic Team

    Co-Directors: Shanta Thake, Isabel Soffer, Bill Bragin

    2022 Curators: Shanta Thake, Isabel Soffer, Bill Bragin, Gabrielle Davenport

    globalFEST Production Team

    Event Producer: Ian Thake

    Producer: THE OFFICE performing arts + film*

    Video Producer: Karim Tabbaa

    Special Thanks

    The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, JanArtsNYC, Valerie French (social media), Yuri Kwon of Pitch Perfect PR (publicity), Tamizdat (legal services) and Duane Morris (legal services)

    *THE OFFICE performing arts + film consists of Rachel Chanoff, Laurie Cearley, Olli Chanoff, Erica Zielinski, Nadine Goellner, Lynn Koek, Noah Bashevkin, Catherine DeGennaro, Gabrielle Davenport, Chloe Golding, Kyla Gardner, Tess Peppis, Zion Jackson, Scout Eisenberg and Jose Alvarado

    Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.