Etran de L’Aïr

(NIGER) – Music

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The name Etran de Aïr translates to “the stars of Aïr”, the mountainous region of northern Niger. They are based in the city of Agadez, an urban centre of the desert, and a city renowned for the production of music, especially the electric guitar and the so-called “desert blues”. Etran is a family collective, formed in 1995 and founded by member Aghaly Migi. Over the years he has taught his younger brothers to play and integrated them into the group. When the band started, they only had an acoustic guitar and the rhythm section was a pumpkin floating in the water “hit with a sandal, to make a drum”. When amplification eventually came to Agadez, the acoustic guitar was modified, using a transducer microphone. Over the past 10 years, the band has been able to acquire more material: drums, some electric guitars. Photograph: © Abdoulmoumouni Hamid