Etran Finatawa

Etran FinatawaEtran Finatawa’s musicians come from Niger which is one of the three poorest countries in the world, it is a landlocked country in West Africa bordered by Mali, Algeria, Libya, Chad and Nigeria. Niger has a very rich cultural heritage. It is a desert crossroad between Berber and Arab cultures of the North and the many sub-Saharan cultures of the South. In Niger there are eleven different ethnic groups most of whom are farmers or pastoralists, both sedentary and nomadic. Amongst them are the Tuareg and Wodaabe, many of whom are still nomadic. They move with their camels, long-horned cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys seeking pastures along the Sahelian savannah at the fringes of the South Sahara.




The Band

Etran Finatawa was formed as a band at the time of the 2004 Festival in the Desert near Timbuctou. The literal meaning of their name is ‘the stars of tradition’. They are the first group to use the songs and music of the Wodaabe in a modern context. They began as a group of ten musicians who wanted to unite these two nomadic cultures as a symbol of peace and reconciliaton. The touring and recording band consists of five musicians three of whom are Tuareg and two, Wodaabe-Fulani. In Niger the Wodaabe and the Tuareg live side by side on the desert’s fringes sharing pastures and water sources which sometimes leads to feuding. Etran Finatawa came together to be a symbol for peace between their communities and to give their cultures a future in this changing world. The music of the two tribes is very different but the way it has been combined has produced a powerful and hypnotic sound and a new musical style of Nomad Blues.
TentSince 2005 they were touring Europe and appearing at WOMAD in 2006, after that they have travelled the wider world and since they have been to more than 44 countries around the world to all five continents.  In Niger their music has a cult status. Their songs are sung by the young and school children all over the country.
The traditional Wodaabe chants are a remarkable blend of choral polyphony and high tenor solos. They wear their traditional long embroidered tunics, leather hose and turbans with ostrich feathers as they would at their annual desert festivals. They adorn their faces with yellow spots and stripes to enhance their looks, and accompany their vocal music with the traditional calabasse (gourd) drums and a slow motion type of movement verging on dance and handclapping. The Tuareg have always used a variety of string instruments, tende drums and ululations to animate their songs and dances and since the 1970s they have used the guitar. This guitar style is called Ichumar and came out of their rebellion and exile in Libya, and is part of the repertoire of Etran Finatawa. They wear long flowing garments and touareg turbans.
From the richness of these two united but distinct cultures they compose and sing their songs in two different languages, the Tuareg Tamashek and the Wodaabe Fulfulde. Their songs tell tales from nomadic life, of isolation and liberty, of extreme hardship and poverty, of a harsh climate, of beautiful women and happy days, of life giving animals and handsome beasts, of festivities and families, of stars and desert storms. Some of their songs are healing songs as they use music as a therapy in both cultures. In this interchange of modern and traditional songs, handclapping and rich percussion often lead the songs and are an invitation to dance while the solo guitar of Alhousseini Mohamed Anivolla gives a special Blues groove to their music. Their melodies, rhythms and vocals create a sound picture of the grasslands of the Sahel and arid desert. The rich and heady blend of the particular vocal sound of the Wodaabe singer, Bammo Agonla , the strong singing voice of the Tuareg Alhousseini Mohamed Anivolla and the polyphonic chorus of the whole band is the highly innovative. 

Their music reveals an incredible groove, mature voices and sophisticated lyrics. They have created an unique sound with which to voice their ideas and concerns regarding their endangered traditional way of life. Their music reaches a whole philosophical level,  the band has a social role being cultural ambassadors, in a society of continuous global change.

‘Imuzaran’ (Tarkat Tajje 2010):

 "Those who are leading the world
pay attention to the tears of the children of this world
that you are spending every morning"


Etran Finatawa´s co founder Bagui Bouga died on August 2nd 2013 R.I.P 1978-2013

Bagui BougaBagui co-founded Etran Finatawa to bring together his nomadic Wodaabe heritage and musical culture together with the other nomadic people of Niger, the Touareg. Bringing his distinctive Wodaabe polyphonic singing and mesmerizing percussion together with the Touareg ichumar guitar style, Bagui was central to Etran Finatawa's vision of a fusion of desert nomadic styles.
Striking in his traditional Wodaabe colourful dress, yellow face paint and ostrich feather, Bagui was an unforgettable presence in live performances. As well as being a musical innovator, he was also a nomad philosopher, bringing his reflections on the nature of the Wodaabe way of life into his songwriting for Etran Finatawa.

We have no words for our pain and sadness! We send all our compassion to his family, his wife and his children. Bagui has been a philosopher, a nomad. He knew so well his culture and he enjoyed sharing his knowledge of his cultural heritage with many people.We will miss him for his music, for his art, his inspiration, intellectual exchange. His capacities, his compassion, his sensitivity were unique. He left us too early. Hopefully “gaynako”, our herdsman will find there we he wanders to plenty of rain and nice and green pastureland with plenty of cows and peace for his soul! We will always remember him.

Sahara Sessions - New album released in June 2013

Cover Sahara Sessions

The Sahara Sessions was recorded deep in the desert. Sheltered only by an animal-skin tent and the vast canopy of midnight stars, Etran Finatawa played their guitars and sang straight from the heart. Each poignant song and everyslap of the calabash drum articulating the deep set divisions in the Sahel region that are threatening their Nomad way of life. Simmering political troubles and excruciating economic hardship pose a dangerous threat to the nomadic way of life and the rich cultures of Niger. Divining their solution to these issues, Etran Finatawa celebrate their diverse heritage and call for its preservation to be a priority for Nigeriens and listeners the world over.

Tarkat Tajje / Let´s go

Cover Let's Go

Produced by Colin Bass at Real World Studios in Bath UK. Released in 2010.  This album is Etran Finatawa’s appeal to a global consciousness and to the decision makers and reactors all over the world.

Etran Finatawa’s hypnotic musical groove evokes the breathless heat and shimmering horizon of the Sahara. With laid back guitars, driving rhythms and compelling voices, Tarkat Tajje/Let’s Go! invites you to accompany this dynamic band of Wodaabe and Tuareg nomads on their evolving musical journey.


Desert Crossroads

Cover Desert Crossroads

Etran Finatawa recorded their 2nd album in July 2007 in London´s famous Livingstone studios together with producer Paul Borg. The result of this very fruitful cooperationhas been released in 2008. "Desert Crossroads" is available as CD album and M3 album at Riverboat World Music Network

Introducing Etran Finatawa

Cover Desert Crossroads

Introducing Etran Finatawa, CD produced by World Music Network London summer 2005, released spring 2006.

Available as CD album and M3 album atWorld Music Network

Tour Dates - Currently no tour

09.04.2015 Salzburg OVAL
10.04.2015 Stainach CCW
11.04.2015 Steyr AKKU
13.04.2015 St. Pölten Cinema Paradiso
14.04.2015 Gorizia Italy, Kulturni Dom
16.04.2015 Wien Sargfabrik
17.04.2015 Innsbruck TREIBHAUS
18.04.2015 Dornbirn SPIELBODEN

Tour Dates - 2014 sahara sessions tour

Tour Program 2014

Date Place Country Contact
July 24 - 27 Viljandi Estonia
July 12th Kaustinen Finland kaustinen Folk Festival
July 11th Jyvaskylankesa Finland Kesä Festival
July 09th Moorbach Austria Kasumama
July 04th Bremerhaven Germany Klimahaus
June 28th Hamburg Germany Cafe Timbuktu, Karolinenviertel
June 27th Martfeld Germany Mühle
June 22nd Leipzig Germany Hakunamatata Festival
June 20-21 Münster Germany Afrika Festival
June 17 Leipzig Germany Universität leipzig Institut für Afrikanistik
June 15th Wroclaw (Breslau) Poland Ethno Jazz Festival
June 14th Saalfelden Austria Afrikafest
June 13th Radziejowice (50 km from Warsaw-south) Poland
June 12th Rozanystok (east Poland close to Bialystok) Poland
June 6-8th Pennabilli Italy
Mai 31st Ossenbeck Germany Hofgut Kühn
Mai 28th Berlin Germany Haus der Sinne
Mai 26th Prague Czech Republic Respectfestival
Mai 22nd Kaunas Lithuania
Mai 21 st Vilnius Lithuania
Tour Program 2011 - 2013
14th dec Niamey, CCFN Niger

14th nov



16th june 2013

Celebrating sanctuary London


15th june 2013

Leeds Howard assembly room


14th june 2013

Victoria Hotel Menai Bridge


13th june 2013

Ironworks Oswestry


12th june 2013

Whitby The Colliseum


11th june 2013

Joe Cornish´s Gallery Northallerton


10th june 2013

MOMO´s London


09th june 2013

Celebrating santuary Birmingham


08th june 2013

Evershot Village Hall


07th june 2013

Turner Simms Southhampton


5 april2013

Chant de dunes Niamey


August 2012



25 feb 2012

Akuboundo, Abalak

13 Aug 2011 Tidewater,OR
Beloved festival
USA or
8 Aug 2011 Calgary
Afrikadey Festival
Canada or
7Aug 2011 Regina Folk festival Canada or
5-6 Aug 2011 Edmonton EMFM Canada or
30-31 July 2011 Canmore Festival BC Canada or
27th July 2011 New York City 92ndY Tribeca USA starts 9pm
26th July 2011 Boston Johnny D´s USA or
22-24 July 2011 Hillside Festival, Guelph Ontario Canada or
21 July 2011 Chicago, Mayne Stage
USA Mayne Stage Theatre
1328 W Morse Av.
21 July 2011 Chicago, Millenium Stage USA or
16-17July 2011 Dawson City Music Festival Canada or
11-14 July 2011 Hot Springs, BC, Harrison Folk Festival Canada or
07-10 July 2011 London, Ontario Sunfest Canada or
25 May 2011 Hildesheim World Music Centre/Massala Festival Germany
20 May 2011 St. Gallen 8 pm Suisse
19 May 2011 Neuchatel 8 pm Suisse
7 May 2011 Espace Senghor, Etterbeck 8 pm Belgium
7 May 2011 Auditorium Abel Dubois, Mons 4 pm Belgium
6 May 2011 Cinema le Parc, Liège Bruxelles
8 pm
5 May 2011 "Le monde est un village" concert live RTBF" Bruxelles
8 pm
4 May 2011 MIM Bruxelles
2 pm
3-13 May 2011 Schoolworkshops with
Jeunesse Musicales International
22 April 2011 Festival FINATAWA Fada N´Gourma Burkina Faso
Tour Program 2010
13 dec 2010 Festival des arts negres, Dakar Senegal
7th nov 2010 World sacred music festival, Uppsala Sweden
6th nov 2010 World sacred music festival, Uppsala Sweden
2nd october 2010 CCFN Niamey Niger  
1st august 2010 Lincoln Center Festival Outdoors New York City USA or
26th july 2010 Neumo's, Seattle, WA USA or
25th july 2010 Calgary Folk festival Canada or
24th july 2010 Calgary Folk festival Canada or
23rd july 2010 Calgary Folk festival Canada or
23rd july 2010 Calgary Folk festival Canada or
22nd july 2010 Calgary Folk festival Canada or
21st july 2010 Yoshi's, Oakland, CA USA or
20nd july 2010 Don Quixote, Santa Cruz USA or
18th july 2010 MIM Phoenix USA or
17th july 2010 MIM Phoenix USA or
16th july 2010 Los Angeles-Pasadena Levitt Pavilion USA or
15th july 2010 Santa Fe Brewery Company USA or
14th july 2010 The cooperage USA or
11th july 2010 Roots and Blues Festival Chicago USA or
10th july 2010 Winnipeg Folk Festival CANADA or
9th july 2010 Winnipeg Folk Festival CANADA or
21st june Masaki "Fete de la Musique", Niamey Niger
8th may 2010 CCFN Zinder Niger or CCFN Zinder
29th april 2010 CCF Alger Algeria or CCF Alger
28th april 2010 CCF Tlemcen Algeria or CCF Alger
30th march 2010 Kleve Germany
25th march 2010 Gütersloh Germany
23rd march 2010 Kempen Germany
19th march 2010 Detmold Germany
18th march 2010 Wuppertal Germany
17th march 2010 Herford Germany
16th march 2010 Hamm Germany
11th march 2010 Bonn Germany
10th march 2010 Cologne Germany
9th march 2010 Hattingen Germany
7th march 2010 St Augustin Germany
6th march 2010 Siegen Germany
5th march 2010 Dortmund Germany
4th march 2010 Remscheid Germany
3rd march 2010 Düsseldorf Germany
2nd march 2010 Bad Honnef Germany
Tour Program 2009
21november St Louis Senegal more details soon
10 october Alliance Francaise Port Elisabeth South Africa
08 october Alliance Francaise Cape Town South Africa
04 october CCF Windhoek Namibia
02 october Alliance Francaise Mbabane Swasiland
30 september Alliance Francaise Maseru South Africa
29 september Alliance Francaise Pretoria South Africa
26 september African Connections South Africa
24 september Alliance Francaise Durban South Africa
22 september World Summit Durban South Africa
18 september CCF Harare Zimbabwe
12 september CCF Maputo Mocambique
6 eptember Nelspruit South Africa
3-5 september Johannesburg South Africa
22nd August 2009
Centro cultural de Belém Portugal
1/2nd August Riverside festival Nottingham UK
25th July Womad Charlton Park UK
22/23rd July Festival Martigues France
20th July Royal Opera House London UK
18th July Larmer Tree festival UK
17th July Southport Arts Centre UK
14th July Arts Centre Darlington Uk
11th July Lift Club Glossop UK
10th July Brewery Arts Centre
Kendal Cumbria
7th-9th Jully Llangollen Eistedfodd/Wales UK
4th/5th July Rhythms of the world
Hitchin Herst
23/24th April WOMAD Abu Dhabi

Etran Finatawa ´s tour in the UK and Europe from October 14th to November 22nd 2008 has been supported by the OIF (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie)

Tour Program 2008
22nd Nov Savigny
scène du monde
20th Nov London Al Madad Foundation
charity concert for development program in Niger
18th Nov Aquarius
17th Nov Galahala,AKC
Metelkova Mesto
tickets at
15th Nov Ciné Scène, Ste. Croix Switzerland
14th Nov Café Mokka, Thun Switzerland
12th Nov Esprit Frappeur, Lutry/Lausanne Switzerland
10th Nov Radio Romande Suisse, Lausanne Switzerland
9th Nov Talinn Estland
7th Nov Oslo World Music Festival Norway
8th Nov Ethnosoi Festival, Helsinki Finland
6th Nov Copenhagen Denmark
4th Nov Akropolis, Prag Czech-Republic
30th Oct Turner Simms Hall Southampton UK
28th Oct The Hawth Crawley UK
26th Oct St Georges Hall Bristol UK
25th Oct Calstock hall/near Plymouth UK
24th Oct Graffham Empire Hall UK
22nd Oct Norwich Arts centre UK
21st Oct Didcott Arts centre UK
19th Oct Ludlow assembly Room UK
18th Oct Musicport-Festival
17th Oct Selby townhall UK
16th october Music 4U
15th october Music 4U
14th october London
11th october International Festival/Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA (USA) Pennsylvania, USA
8th october Museum of Fine Arts,
Boston, MA
Massachusetts, USA
7th october Crossroads Music (at Calvary Church), Philadelphia, PA Pennsylvania, USA
6th october World Café
Pennsylvania, USA
4th october Lotus festival
Indiana, USA
3rd october Lotus festival
Indiana, USA
1st october Friends of Bob´s
Indiana, USA
25th September The Japanese American National Museum / 369 East First Street / Los Angeles, CA 90012 / California, USA or
Tel. 213.625.0414
23rd September Amoeba Instore
Sunset Blvd.
California, USA
22th September Chicago World Music festival
Illinois, USA
21th September Chicago World Music festival
Illinois, USA
20th September Madison World Music Festival Wisconsin, USA
29th August World Music festival Roumania
22th July Vancouver Folk Festival Canada
18th July Grassroots Festival. Ithaca,NY USA
10th July Nuit d´Afrique Montreal Canada
4th-6th July TFF Rudolstadt Germany
3rd July Timitar Festival Agadir Marocco
1st July Maschinenhaus, Kulturbrauerei, Berlin Germany
29th June Forum der Kulturen Stuttgart Germany
28th June Centre Culturel Neudorf Strassbourg France
27th June Alte Scheune Liebenau Germany
7th June Schlachthof, Kassel Germany
6th June Kulturfabrik Luxembourg Luxembourg
5th June E-Werk, Freiburg Germany
23rd May Dortmund Germany
11-13th May Music Meeting
10th May Rasa-Utrecht Netherlands
8th May Anvers Belgium
7th May Kulturhus
8th May Anvers Belgium
6th May Ossenbeck /Diepholz
Hofgut Kühn
3rd May Kulturgiesserei,
30th april Chicago Old town school of Folk, Chicago, Illinois USA
29th april temple bar
Santa Monica, C.A.
26th-27th april Louisiana Int. Festival,
21st april IOTA cafe and club,
Arlington, VA
20 april Rosendale theatre, Rosendale New York State USA
18th april NY Music Institute,
New York City
    more details about the US tour
Tour Program 2006
25 Aug Ireland World Cultures Festival, Dublin Dun Laoghaire Ireland  
29 Jul WOMAD Festival Reading UK
29 Jun Gala concert Al Madad Foundation, London UK
19 Jun Afrika-Kooperative Münster Germany
18 Jun Amsterdam Roots festival Netherlands
16 Jun Geneva "Fête de la Musique" Switzerland  
15 Jun Radio Suisse romande, Lausanne Switzerland
14 Jun Lausanne Esprit-Frappeur Switzerland
08 Jun Berlin Café Zapata Germany
01-04 Jun Pennabilli Artisti in Piazza italy
30 May Bath Fringe Festival UK
28 May Dunya Festival Netherlands
26 May Ossenbeck, Hofanlage Kühn Germany