Noura Mint Seymali - Music of Mauritania
Winner of the 2014 AFRIMA (All Africa Music Awards) for "Best Female Artist in North Africa," Noura Mint Seymali is a nationally beloved star and one of Mauritania's foremost musical emissaries, having begun her career, aged 13, as a supporting vocalist with her legendary step-mother Dimi Mint Abba. Reared in a culture of collision where sounds from across the Sahara, the Magreb and West Africa coalesce in the dynamic language of the Moorish griot, Noura's success stems from her ability to combine a rare classical mastery and a griot's cultural authority with musical idioms that speak to the emergent realities of youth culture in West Africa and beyond.
Composing for an ensemble with traditional instruments at its core—ardine (harp), tidinit (lute), and t'beul (bowl drum)— and fortified by Western bass and drum-set, Noura employs the instruments and modal structures essential to Moorish tradition while simultaneously delivering ideas within the format of the pop song, the ever-potent currency of memes in contemporary Africa.
With Mauritania's unique cultural and geographic identity as a desert nation physically and socially between North and Sub-Saharan Africa—Noura Mint Seymali is a vital and vibrant staging post on the road from the Medinas of Fez and Algiers to the dance clubs of Bamako and Dakar, and an unforgettable voice of Africa. With an already formidable international debut, at events like Festivalau-Desert (Mali), Festival Pirineos (Spain) and Festival Timitar (Morocco), and collaborations with artists like Tinariwen, Bassekou Kouyaté and Baaba Maal, Noura Mint Seymali is steadily gaining wider recognition, determined to bring Mauritanian music to the world.
Presented by: Caltech Committee on Institute Programs