'throbs with desert guitar tropes given a bluesy twist, thick basslines and deep, reverberating vocals full of inscrutable myth and mystery' 7/10 Uncut

'Alhousseini’s debut is in a different league' 3*** stars, The Financial Times 

'desert rock becomes an introspective affair on this debut' 3*** stars, Independent On Sunday ***

'subtle nuanced arrangements ... a move towards an intimacy of sound' The Arts Desk, Disc Of The Day

'New gorgeous Tuareg desert blue' Afropop Worldwide

Anewal/The Walking Man

This album was recorded in Niamey, the hustling-bustling capital of Niger. As the city hummed with heat and thick dust storms rolled in, Alhousseini Mohamed Anivolla and his good friend Michel Tranchet recorded the music heard here. Next, Colin Bass painstakingly tweaked, mixed and cultivated the swinging bluesy sounds with his expert touch. Their careful efforts resulted in Anewal/The Walking Man, a solo album soaked in the spirit of deep desert blues. 

Alhousseini was born in the Saharan desert and is a nomad of Tuareg heritage. He chose the album title Anewal/The Walking Man in reference to his itinerant lifestyle, which has led him across the Sahara and the entire globe as a member of Etran Finatawa. Now on Anewal/The Walking Man, Alhousseini takes centre stage - every work is his own original composition.

Alhous’ sound puts his own spin on the great living tradition, the ‘Desert Blues’. His music explores the intersection between the traditional music of his homeland, and the African-American blues genre that it birthed. His guitar technique is related to the ichumar style, developed during the 1970s by Tuaregs exiled in Libya.

The album’s central theme concerns Alhousseini’s strong connection to his ancestral elders and his community, values that are expressed both lyrically and musically. ‘Emassli Na Taregh’ features a traditional musical bow that Alhousseini feels puts him in direct contact with the ancestors. The title of the track ‘Iblis Odouad’ translates as ‘Demons Are Showing Up’, Alhousseini explains: ‘When the sun is coming down ... you hear all the demons talking at once in different languages. You feel alone, isolated and so homesick if you are not surrounded by your dear ones at this time.’ Again we are reminded that, for Alhousseini home isn’t dictated by place, but only by community and the company of your loved ones. The track opens with a solo guitar figure, which is later joined by a thick bassline and cantering percussion. After over a minute of instrumental interplay, Alhousseini’s vocal enters in a soft, almost hushed tone that conjures up an air of solitude perfectly.

Anewal/The Walking Man is Alhousseini’s diary of his personal journey from the desert, to the city, to the world stage and back again. Enjoy this evocative and gutsy desert blues album from Alhousseini, who is, in his own words a ‘nomad by heart’.

Alhousseini Anivolla

The Songs

01 Imoussanan
This song appeals to the older generation, and implores them to keep giving advice to the youth of today. Alhousseini reflects on the worth of such wisdom, noting how nowadays the headstrong younger generation often refuse to take such valuable counsel on board – making it even more precious than ever before.

02 Kammo Tarhanin
‘Kammo Tarhanin’ is a gentle ballad. The lyrics reflect on the phenomenon of being blinded by love – ‘With love in your eyes, you don’t see anything else. When someone talks to you, you can’t concentrate and think only of your dear one’.   

03 Imadanan Id’Madiakan
This song considers the common disputes between farmers and nomadic shepherds over land in Niger, an issue causing divisions that are fracturing society. Alhousseini urges the clashing groups to work together to overcome their differences and work together towards peace and advancement of the Niger economy.

04 Talaouit
‘Talaouit’ translates as ‘pride’. During the song Alhousseini speaks of the deep pride he feels when he sees people from across Africa working together towards peace and progress. 

05 Talitin
‘Talitin’ translates as ‘my inner light’, and is a pensive love song. Alhousseini describes the inner light that is guiding him in life, and how love has brought him fulfilment and happiness.

06 Attarech
Alhousseini composed this instrumental track for the documentary film, The Endless Journey. The film charts the experiences of Alhousseini and three colleagues (Mamane Barka, Bammo Agonla and Oumarou Amadou) on a momentous road trip they took across Niger. Their mission was to perform music to students in outlying schools across the diverse country.  

07 Amoud
This song is a prayer for peace. Alhousseini reminds his brothers to respect and preserve local tradition, culture and religion. Considering the current turbulent politics that are taking hold in the Sahel region, ‘Amoud’ is a particularly poignant and urgent call for peace.

08 Tamiditin
‘Tamiditin’ explores the idea of cultivating love. Alhousseini explains that love is not static, but must be tended and cared for in order to survive. Relationships must be based on real emotions, not on lies – like mirages in the desert.

09 Emassli Na Taregh
In this song Alhousseini plays the takidibina, a traditional musical bow that is now rarely played. Alhousseini explains how the historic instrument puts him in direct contact with his ancestors, anchoring him deeply to his heritage.

10 Iblis Odouad
‘Iblis Odouad’ or ‘Demons Are Showing Up’ is a hauntingly beautiful track. The lyrics paint out a dusk scene – as the sun is coming down, Alhousseini wants to share the last lights of the day with his dearest. As one day ends, the night calls for his soul, and he can hear demons all around, talking in different languages. The only comfort at this magical and dangerous time is to be in the company of his loved one.

11 Aiytma feat. Malebo (Bonus Track)
This exclusive bonus track features the South African singer Malebo Mothema, and her soaring vocals add an entirely new flavour to Alhousseini’s work.