Revered saxophonist Idris Ackamoor is the founder and leader of the Pyramids, an Afrocentric world music and spiritual jazz group whose music emerges from a fertile creative zone that was mined by Sun Ra, Art Ensemble of Chicago and the likes. Their trio of mindbending afro-jazz albums from the 1970s proved highly influential to several generations of artists, but the group disbanded in 1977. Ackamoor threw himself in his work as a cultural ambassador, but after nearly 40 years he reconvened the band in 2016, releasing two much-acclaimed albums on Strut Records and starting a second run as a celebrated touring outfit.
Brewing up a heady mixture of high-spirited rhythm & blues, real-gone psychedelia, and middle-finger-flipping garage rock, King Khan has earned an international reputation as one of the wildest showmen in underground rock. Whether playing with the all-freaks powerhouse that is The Shrines, designing a deck of Tarot cards (Jodorowsky approved!), scoring William Burroughs' archival spoken word recordings or embarking on any other highly extravagant project he will think up next, King Khan is a versatile true artist who just also happens to have a knack for entertaining the shit out of any audience that is put in front of him.
Fatou Seidi Ghali and Alamnou Akrouni are "Les Filles de Illighadad", named after their tiny hometown in a remote part of Niger near the border with Mali.They sing and play a traditional Tuareg drum called the tende, which is also the name of a repertoire of traditional Tuareg folk songs. But it is the distinctive acoustic and electric guitar playing by Fatou that catches eyes and ears all over the world. After a photograph of her playing at a wedding went viral online (female Tuareg guitarists being rare), Christopher Kirkley of Sahel Sounds tracked her down and produced the group's first two albums for the label.
Mdou Moctar first found underground success in 2008, when his first release "Ana" was all the rage on the pirate mp3 networks of West Africa. Through the Sahel Sounds compilation “Music from Saharan Cellphones” (2011) his unique psychedelic sound was picked up in the West, which launched a successful touring career. In 2012, Mdou relocated from his native village to Agadez, the center of Niger’s guitar scene, and formed his band. Over the past years, he has become well known on the international circuit, playing high energy electrified music in festivals and clubs across Europe and North America.