Tal National, formed in the year 2000, is a domestic phenomenon. The band is from Niamey, the capital city of Niger. They’ve had several #1 songs in their home country and are constantly featured on national TV. Niger is West Africa’s largest nation, and one of the world’s poorest. Resting between Mali and Nigeria, and not far from Ghana, it enjoys a greatly varied mix of cultures and ethnicities, all richly steeped in music. Hence it is no stranger to highlife music, kora music, afrobeat, while giving the world ‘Tuareg Blues’ and its own brand of hip hop. Now Tal National is bringing something entirely new to the table, and Niger is growing increasingly unified in their passion for what the band has to offer.
Through this joyously hypnotic, highly unique contribution to West African guitar music with lightning-fast rhythms and a rotating cast of vocalists, the history of Niger can be heard as a cultural crossroads along ancient trade routes. Collected within the former French colony can be found Songhai, Fulani, Hausa, and Tuareg populations, all of whom are represented in Tal National’s members.
On stage Tal National perform with six musicians, but because of their rigorous performance schedule here might be up to thirteen members at any one time. Their concert material combines original songs with new arrangements of West African folk songs, themes of which deal with love, tolerance, peace, feminine beauty, and the woman’s physical dance expression based on traditional African rhythms.
The band is driven by the charismatic, forward-thinking bandleader, Hamadal “Almeida” Moumine, who also teaches at the local SOS Children’s Village twice a week, serves as a judge in local courts, and had a successful soccer career before becoming Niger’s best-loved guitarist
"Utterly boo-licious debut slab by this new duo, made up of Matt 'MV' Valentine and Pat 'P.G. Six' Gubler, who have been in cahoots since the near-forgotten days of Memphis Luxure. The pair (mostly known for guitar-aktion) create a full band's worth of jams using percussion and keys and all-else. The results make for one of the more mind-melting platters to've hit the Valley in a good while. Like many of the best sides this pair has been associated with, the music on Livin' The Dieis an elegant balance of ramble and spear. The songs' formats are as loose as Earl Butz's shoes but each of them is lanced with guitar sounds as tight as his legendary fist. Around these spumes of electric menace you'll find rings of crazy space burble, vocals so deeply layered they sound like something happening in the back of Daevid Allen's brain. But large swathes of the album are rurally expansive, as befits the mountainside on which it was recorded. Pods of guitar-pedal-whomp slowly surface in the middle of whirling sea of harmonica slurps, juice harp bwongs and vocals as dreamy as they are lost. Roll a bone or be one. The choice, as always, is yours." --Byron Coley, 2018