In 2002 the project of organizing a Festival in Agadez, Niger, took shape. It was to bring together the voices of women in the region and sub-region, of all the ethnic groups and cultures around the theme of unity. This project was not carried out but allowed artists that were completely unknown in Europe to participate in the festival in Belgium.
The story began in Mali in 1994 when Manuella Varrasso discovered a group of Tuareg musicians. The region was in conflict, part of the group was in a refugee in a camp in Mauritania, but we managed to invite them to the 3rd Voix De Femmes Festival, in Liege, in December 1995. Tartit gave its first international concert in the marquee of the Ice Palace, and left a lasting memory and were selected for the MASA in Abidjan. They thus began a career that now places them among the historical groups of World Music.
We know: for nomads, borders are porous and for lovers, the Tuareg culture is a horizon that is always moving farther away.
So we went in Niger, where Alain Kazinierakis had heard about Hadjo Emeni, a legendary musician from Air. She lives in Agadez, that’s where we met her and where we went more and more often to take refuge, hear her story, listen to her life. Hadjo plays the inzad, the traditional violin that contains all the Tuareg culture. She is probably the “last” inzad player. Hugely respected by her own people, she also played at the ceremony of the peace agreement in Ouagadougou in 1994.
Hadjo Emeni participated in the 4th and 5th Festival (1997 and 2000). Two other groups, Tidawt and Ineren, also from the Agadez region, participated in the 5th and 6th Festival (2000 and 2002). Voix De Femmes recorded Hadjo Emeni in the Air: a sublime recording, unpublished to date. To be continued.