Targ album cover

Bargou 08


Beyond its value as a work of research and preservation, Targ is simply a great album.  Nidhal Yahyaoui grew up in the Bargou Valley, an isolated spot between the mountains of northwest Tunisia and the Algerian border that over the centuries has developed its own culture and musical traditions. Fearing they would be lost, he spent over a decade  researching and gathering traditional music from the area, and worked with  old time friend and collaborator Sofyann Ben Youssef (of Ammar 808) to reorchestrate several of those traditional pieces. The duo blend traditional vocals and instruments like the loutar lute, the gasba, and zokra with a barrage of driving percussion and a heavy Moog basslines, creating a pulsating, hypnotic set of Bargou Valley club bangers. 

Megan Iacobini de Fazio

Nidhal Yahyaoui grew up in the highlands of Tunisia, near the border with Algeria, in a town called Bargou. For years, he collected folk songs from the region and then recorded them with a band of four. The result isn’t quite like anything else. Yahyaoui’s singing is four on the floor strength, and Lasaad Ben Cherif plays the flute like he’s trying to saw through a wall. The synth bass and drumming feels heavier and almost American, and the entire thing lights up the room and burns through 42 minutes.

Sasha Frere-Jones

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