She’s as close to Mauritanian musical royalty as you’re going to get.
Her name is Noura Mint Seymali, and her unique blend of traditional Western-North-African music will grace the Cedar Cultural Center on Friday at 8 p.m.
Mint Seymali’s performance palette is a musical twisted pretzel, filtered through a deep genetic strain: She was born into a tradition of griot, itself a class of traveling poets, musicians, and storytellers who maintain a tradition of oral history in parts of West Africa. Her step-mother was singing mega-star Dimi Mint Abba (with whom she herself began singing at a young age), and her father, Seymali Ould Ahmed Vall, devised the first system for Moorish melodic notation, as well as adapted her home country’s national anthem. Further fusion came from her husband’s psych guitar line influence. He, Jeiche Ould Chighaly, plays alongside her, and together they offer a galvanizing mix of traditional Sahara sound and contemporary flavor.
The pair are noted for adapting the Moorish traditional form with pop music configurations, the beginning strains of which can be heard on their first two albums, “Tarabe” and “El Howl.” Audiences at the Cedar will hear a lot more, too, since the “garage gospel band,” Gospel Machine, will be opening the set.
This is an opportunity to seek out, and find, something at once looking backward and forward, as much performance as it is theoretical and yet perfectly-honed. And, even more than that, elevated and entertaining. Open for all ages, this is the perfect journey for those looking for a musical adventure both eclectic and accessible.
And, when it comes right down to it, who on earth would pass up a chance to see royalty, musical or otherwise?
Prepare to have your cultural ears and eyes opened as wide as they’ll likely get this season.