GB 045LP GB 045LP

LP version. 180-gram vinyl. Includes download code. Lying between the mountains of northwest Tunisia and the Algerian border, the Bargou valley and the village named after it lie isolated, away from the world. It's poor, barren country, but standing apart, Bargou has developed its own culture that had never been documented until Nidhal Yahyaoui began the task. Born in the valley, he grew up hearing his parents and family sing the songs that belong to the region, and he was determined that the music and traditions shouldn't slip away into obscurity. "Nidhal began collecting songs from all over the valley more than ten years ago," explains producer and keyboard player Sofyann Ben Youssef, who's known Yahyaoui since they were both ten years old. "No one had ever done that before. He listened to the women, to the village elders, and he learned all the variations on the songs. This is his passion, and he asked me to join him." Together, they assembled a collective of both local and European musicians who spent three weeks playing in the Yahyaoui family home in Bargou village. They worked on the material, shaping a sound that harnessed the power of the tradition and connected it to something the young would understand. "It was important for us to record there and to use some local musicians on the record," explains Ben Youssef. "But we also wanted the young people in the village to see that something could be created right there and that they didn't need a lot of money to do it, to inspire them." Made over the course of three weeks in the Yahyaoui family home, Targ hews close to the tradition, taking its power from the root, with Ben Yousef's synthesizer adding subtle touches at the top and bottom ends. Bales of hay were piled up in the rooms to act as acoustic baffles. Ben Yousef set up in the kitchen, operating the recording equipment with one hand and playing Moog with the other. It was an improvised setup, but it captured the fire and energy of the musicians' performances. But it all revolves around Yahyaoui's voice. Raw and emotional, plaintive and passionate, it proudly bears all the weight of history. And underneath, the thick, fat bass carries the music firmly into the 21st century. The explosive rhythms of drums and percussion give a primal power to the bass grooves. It's the trance of the past emerging from out of the speakers. With Targ, Bargou 08 make sure that the valley and its people will never be forgotten. Lassaed Bougalmi: gasba and zokra (traditional reed instruments); Imed Rezgui: bendir (percussion); Nidhal Yahyaoui: vocals and wtar (oud-like instrument); Sofyan Ben Youssef: synthesizer and musical direction; Benjamin Chaval: drums.