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Various Artists

Wallahi Le Zein!

MRI-126
Release Notes
  • 12” 160 gram black vinyl LP, with 2 spot color reverse-board jacket
  • 8-page full sized booklet with extensive notes and photos, and a history of
    Mauritanian guitar playing.

Legendary psychedelic guitar music from the Islamic Republic of Mauritania finally available on vinyl!

Originally released as a double CD in 2010, Wallahi Le Zein! has persisted as a cult classic, a collection of a rarely heard and utterly unique underground musicscene, raw and unfiltered.

The LP version we now present is intended as an immersive entry into this music: gnarled and virtuosic electric guitars weave hypnotically throughout melismatic sung poetry and exclamations, pulsing hand drums, party chatter, buzzing rigged desert sound systems, and all manner of the ambient sounds of Nouakchott wedded to oversaturated cassette in all its swirling, breathing, psychedelic glory. Operating
entirely outside of any local recording industry, these songs were collected from bootleg tape stalls, wedding souveniers, and networks of musicians, expertly curated, researched and produced by Matthew Lavoie.

Drawing from the deep well of Mauritanian classical music, the gamut of musical modes and the tidinitt lute repertoire are transposed to the electric guitar – often with frets removed or additional frets installed, “heavy metal” distortion pedals and phasers built into guitar bodies, blurring the lines between Haratine and Beydane musical cultures, the ancient and the futuristic. At times transcendent and transfixing, and conversely a furious and cascading intensity that commands jaw-dropping attention.

For fans of the more raw side of Sublime Frequencies, Sahelsounds, the ripping tape-hiss psychedelia of Les Rallizes Denudes, and anyone remotely interestedin GUITARS.