The band’s new album, Tarkat Tajje (Let’s Go) was released this March on Riverboat Records. Etran Finatawa has aims beyond music. They support broader cultural awareness in Niger. As part of this they will travel for two weeks to schools all over the country; this begins June 1 and will be followed by their North American tour.
Their homeland was the site of a coup on February 18 but elections are planned for next year. Niger celebrates 50 years of independence this year.
Political turmoil is not the only issue (or even the most serious issue) facing Niger. Desertification has made it more and more difficult to raise cattle—the main occupation for nomadic peoples specifically. Take some time and listen to an interview with the band at Amoeba Records in Los Angeles, www.amoeba.com/live-shows/etran-finatawa.html
For more on the band go to their website, www.etranfinatawa.com
A free download of one of the band's songs, Aitimani, is available at www.worldmusic.net/wmn/free_downloads/etran-finatawa