Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla

Running parallel with the now world-famous desert blues popularized by stars like Tinariwen, Tartit, and Ali Farka Touré, a more high-octane kind of party music has emerged from the southern regions of the Sahara Desert called WZN. It was initially played exclusively at wedding parties, but today it can be found distributed through a lively trade in cassettes and CDRs. Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla is one of Mauritania’s biggest stars in WZN. His dynamic improvisations are based on traditions from the region, but he has created his own style, playing what feels like endless solos on microtonal synthesizers. Backed by rattling rhythms, Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla’s fingers fly over the keyboard—at least when he’s not hitting the keys with his face or elbows.

Support: DJ Jens Lekman

Tickets 11 May. With a festival pass there’s a 50% discount (use code ekwiri).