Group Doueh | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | International | Chicago Reader

Group Doueh All Ages Soundboard

When: Sun., June 26, 7 p.m. 2011

Thanks to the likes of Tinariwen and Etran Finatawa, the West has recently developed an appetite for the trance-inducing guitar music of the Sahara and environs. The sound has been around for decades, and over the past few years Sublime Frequencies has introduced several bands with a much rawer and more bracing approach to the style, including Group Doueh from Dakhla, West Sahara. So far the label has put out two albums compiled from the group's ultra-lo-fi cassettes and two subsequent discs cut by label producer Hisham Mayet—including the new Zayna Jumma—and across those releases singer and guitarist Salmou "Doueh" Bamaar has emerged as a ferocious, soulful front man. His music combines a rudimentary but delightful pop sensibility with influences from around the region—hypnotic Moroccan rhythms, melismatic Arabic singing, and especially the nasty, stabbing guitar sound developed in neighboring Mauritania. On guitar and sometimes on a lute called a tidinnit, he plays with as much incendiary fury as anyone on the continent, recalling the potent and emotional soloing of American blues even though the songs only hint at that genre (unlike similar music from nearer to Mali). On past albums Group Doueh has incorporated chintzy keyboards (probably due to limited resources, not an actual aesthetic preference), and the new album adds a female chorus and often a full-kit drummer—but even when the band imports conventional Western pop or rock gestures, it doesn't do a thing to dilute Bamaar's messianic intensity. This is Doueh's Chicago debut. —Peter Margasak

Price: $20

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