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Inspirational Interview with Libyan Musician Danto Aya

Hi Danto, can you explain to our readers about the type of music that you play and how you all met each other?

My music is primarily guitar-driven, in the style known among the Tuareg people as assouf. This kind of music is really powerful and almost every Tuareg sings it. Assouf in Tamazight means nostalgia and loneliness. When I was young I used to listen to the Tuareg band called ‘Tinariwen’, We met when I heard them in Libya: I became a member somewhat later.

Danto, when did you first start singing, writing and performing music and what inspired you to do so?

I first started singing in 1994, and song-writing rather earlier.

What are your songs and lyrics based on?

My songs always reflect the sufferings of our people the Tuareg, and their political & environmental conditions. These include marginalization, discrimination, & statelessness; but also droughts, due to climatic changes that swept the Sahara Desert at the beginning of the1980s. Prolonged droughts led to the death of vast numbers of livestock, as well as deaths of many human beings.

On your Myspace page, you say that you have moved to Europe to make your music, due to various problems back home. How has your music progressed since the move, and where has your journey taken you?

As I mentioned earlier I have always sung about the suffering that has faced the Tuareg, particularly in Libya and I have persisted in trying to reflect the daily life, hoping that I might inspire people to stand up for their rights. This of course was never allowed under the Gaddafi regime. I was put in prison on many occasions, as a consequence. I encountered racism wherever I went, just through being a Tuareg.

For me your music is so enjoyable, due to the diverse sounds and the incorporation of various different instruments. Do you regularly find the time to work on new songs and to rehearse?

My music & songs are the whole of my life. Nothing will distract me or take me away from them. I shall always have enough time for them.

Danto Aya EMETAWAH by Talent Pool Studios

Are there any exciting new tracks for our readers to look out for in the near future?

I’ve just finished recording a new track with Talent Pool Studio. It will be out soon!

What does the future hold for the group?

The band is now getting really popular throughout the UK as well as in North Africa. I believe it will soon be a really big thing, particularly because of the political changes that are happening in Libya, as well as many other countries. It should help in promoting the message that we’re trying to get across.

What has been your one gig to remember so far?

My best memories of a gig up to now are of the recent Musicport Festival, held in Bridlington on the Yorkshire Coast. We performed together with an Irish band.

If you could choose just one ‘ultimate’ venue in the world at which to play, where would it be?

My dream is to one day play again in my home town of Ghat, this time with Tinariwen.

Where can fans find you online?

My songs are accessible on Youtube Myspace, under my name of Danto. Our fans can also interact with me through the band’s own Facebook page ‘acacus band’.


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