She Shreds partnered with Chicago Music Exchange to invite Les Filles de Illighadad to play at CME’s showroom, and to talk with Fatou Seidi Ghali.

On September 25, 2019, our friends at Chicago Music Exchange hosted Les Filles de Illighadad for a live session in their showroom while the band was on their first U.S. tour.

Since we first heard Les Filles de Illighadad, we’ve been mesmerized by their tende music, featuring meditative melodies, looping guitars and vocals, and the traditional calabash drum. In 2016, we published a feature about Les Filles de Illighadad and a short interview with Fatou Seidi Ghali in Issue #11, which introduced Chicago Music Exchange to the band.

Les Filles de Illighadad treated Chicago Music Exchange to their song “Tihilele.” Watch the video below, and then read a short interview with Fatou Seidi Ghali about her art, tende music, and what’s really important in life.

How did making music become your life?

I did not imagine that making music will become my work. I just started as a hobby when I was 12 years old, picking up my brother’s guitar. Finally, some years ago, someone shot a video of me playing guitar for someone’s wedding, and the video turned around the social networks, and then people started contacting me to perform.

How did you get your start?

I started playing guitar when I was a kid. My brother came from Libya with one old, wooden guitar and at night, when he was sleeping or when he was traveling, I picked up the guitar and run into the bush to start training on it.

Who are your major influences?

My main influence is the direct environmental music in my community. Mostly Takamba music, and traditional tende as well, but also some music coming from Northern Nigeria (Hausa music).

What guides your playing style?

The Takamba melodies and tende rhythms have been my model, so I started to play it on the guitar, and that became “my style.”

First guitar?

As I mentioned, my first guitar was my brother’s guitar from Libya. Then later, I borrowed my Uncle’s guitar, a Fender Stratocaster, for my first tour in Europe.

Current guitar?

My current guitar is a Fender Stratocaster bought by my manager as a gift to support me after my first European tour. He brought it from France to Niger for me. Since then, I am touring with this guitar.

Any gear you can’t live without?

Not really. I used to live with nothing–only my family, animals, and tent. So I don’t really need anything else. Only water. It’s the most important.

What do you have coming up? Albums? Tours?

We are coming to the U.S. for our first-ever tour in this part of the world. We have been working on a new live [set] this summer and probably a new album coming next year.