Event | Concerts and Performances Les Filles de Illighadad

Date and Location

  • When: Thursday, September 19, 2019

    12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT

  • Where: Thomas Jefferson Building - Coolidge Auditorium (LJG45A)

    10 1st Street SE, Washington, DC 20540

Part of Homegrown Concerts

Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or [email protected]

Fatou Seidi Ghali, lead vocalist and guitarist of Les Filles de Illighadad, is one of the only Tuareg female guitarists in Niger. Sneaking away with her older brother's guitar, she taught herself to play. While Fatou's role as the first female Tuareg guitarist is groundbreaking, it is just as interesting for her musical direction. In Tuareg society, woman have traditionally been musicians, but not guitarists. They have been deeply involved with tende, a form of music centered on a drum traditionally made out of a mortar and pestles. Tende rhythms also deeply informed the development of Tuareg guitar music, which is mostly the province of men. In a place where gender norms have created these two divergent musics, Fatou and Les Filles de Illighadad are reasserting the role of tende in Tuareg guitar. In lieu of the djembe or the drum kit, so popular in contemporary Tuareg rock bands, Les Filles de Illighadad incorporate the traditional drum and the pounding calabash, half buried in water. They are thus reclaiming the importance of this forgotten inspiration of Tuareg guitar and asserting the power of women to innovate using the roots of traditional Tuareg music.