Formed in Niger in 2004, this group brings together traditional Arab and African music. Members of the band come from Tuareg and Wodaabe, nomadic groups whose heritage rests primarily in tending livestock in southern Sahara. The band’s personnel varies, numbering usually between six and 10, and has included Alhousseini Mohamed Anivolla, Bammo Agonla, Bagui Bouga, Ghalitane Khamidoune, Zaid Ag Abdoul Jamil and Mamane Tankari. Tuareg members chiefly play string instruments, traditionally a form of violin but latterly also acoustic and electric guitar, and percussion. Since the addition of the guitar, the form of music played by the Tuareg has been named ‘ichumar’. The Wodaabe sing in their own language, Fulfulde, and in the language of the Tuareg, Tamasheck, and use calabasse drums. They also dance in a slow, rhythmic manner.
Since their first appearance at a desert music festival in Timbuktu, Mali, Etran Finatawa has performed in Erfoud, Morocco, and toured Europe where they have given concerts in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland (appearing at the World Music Festival), Eire (World Cultures Festival), and England (WOMAD). An April 2008 tour of the USA included dates in California, Illinois, Louisiana and New York. Members of the band have included Alhousseini Mohamed Anivolla, Bammo Agnola, Bagui Bouga, Ghalitane Khamidoune, Zaid Ag Abdoul Jamil and Mamane Tankari.