Posted May 7, 2015 by Cooper Point Journal in Arts & Entertainment

Best Bets May 9:

Tal National


Tal National play The Olympia Ballroom on May 9.

Tal National became the most celebrated band in their home nation Niger over a decade of touring constantly throughout the Sahara, playing five hour gigs every day. Lately, they’ve hit the international tour circuit, leading them now to Olympia for the first time. The members—sometimes 13 strong, but more often around six—bring together a variety of West Africa’s distinguished musical traditions into jittery and intense rock n’ roll. They have strong roots in the griot tradition, played by poet musicians traveling the desert, a genre not dissimilar to American blues music. But here, electric guitars take the place of lutes, with electric bass and rock drums in the foreground as well. Their latest record “Zoy Zoy” pulsates with sublime energy, euphorically syncopated. Here is a rare opportunity to catch some of West Africa’s most prodigious players.  – Issac Scott

The Olympia Ballroom. 116 Legion Way SE. $10. ALL AGES