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Les Filles de Illighadad at Ruby City

Spring 2021


Ruby City
San Antonio, TX


Ballroom Marfa and Ruby City are partnering this spring with an evening of live music at Ruby City’s Sculpture Garden for Music in the Park. The evening will feature the all-female Tuareg guitar group, Les Filles de Illighadad. Music in the Park is an annual program hosted by Ruby City and KRTU Trinity University 91.7FM in San Antonio. This meaningful exchange allows Ballroom Marfa and Ruby City to work together to fulfill their shared mission to foster the creation of innovative expression.

This event is organized by Ballroom Marfa’s programs director, Sarah Melendez.

Artist Profile

Les Filles de Illighadad

Les Filles de Illighadad is an all-female Tuareg guitar group from a secluded commune in central Niger, at the edge of the Sahara. Their sound explores two very different sides of Tuareg music: dreamy ishumar acoustic guitar sessions and hypnotic polyphonic tende. Tende is the sound that defines rural Niger and the forgotten root from which Tuareg guitar is inspired. As communal music, tende is meant to be played during celebrations and as a call-and-response among women singing about what’s happening in the village. While tende is a musical form dominated by women, Tuareg guitar has grown into its male-dominated counterpart. Fatou Seidi Ghali, the lead vocalist of Les Filles, is one of the only female Tuareg guitarists in Niger. In a place where gender norms have created two divergent sounds, Fatou and Les Filles are reasserting the role of tende in Tuareg guitar and reclaiming its importance in the genre.