Celebrated Malian rock band Songhoy Blues made their debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s #PlayAtHome series with a performance of their song “Barre.” Filmed in Mali, the group sang in their native Songhai while the performance showcased Songhoy Blues’ distinctive sound that blends Malian cross-rhythms with Western rock influences and virtuosic guitar playing. View the performance HERE.
Translated, “Barre” means change. The song was written to inspire the youth of their Mali homeland to get involved and help change their nation’s corrupt and oppressive political system. The track appears on the band’s latest album Optimisme (French for optimism), which received wide critical acclaim following its release. Highlights include a feature segment on NPR’s Morning Edition as well as coverage in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, American Songwriter, Consequence of Sound, Afropop Worldwide, Garden & Gun and many more. See Highlights.
“This is resistance music…they call for the empowerment of women, they promote joy as (a) weapon of resistance and not violence and that’s what this music is for them.” – NPR Music
“For an album about optimism, this release sure kicks with righteous fury”
– Afropop Worldwide
“Even while calling for resistance against oppression, they’re still able to infuse their work with upbeat, jubilant rhythms and indie-dance guitar arrangements.” – Consequence of Sound
“What would you get if Jack White and Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti showed up at Junior Kimbrough’s juke joint to jam? Something like Songhoy Blues, an electrifying rock quartet from Mali…it’s some of the best sounding protest rock you’ll hear in 2020.” – Garden & Gun
“…an uplifting declaration of hope and perseverance, crafted with an honesty born out of lived experience.” – NPR Heavy Rotation
“…there’s a real energy and a real sense of optimism…if you like hard rhythm sections, if you like really great guitar solos, this record is going to hit you right where you live and breathe” – Uproxx’s Indiecast
“Songhoy Blues produce some of the raunchiest, edgiest rock to come out of Africa…their energetic live sound has finally been captured on tape.”
– Guitar World
“…while adored in their homeland and a favorite to world audiences, this project, ‘Optimisme’, may spread their influence even further.”
– Glide Magazine