Words by Rebecca Neofitou, Songlines Intern
Photo of Koudede by Alice Mutasa
On October 28 2012, the Touareg people of West Africa lost one of their most inspiring musicians – Koudede. The young Touareg guitarist was on his way home to his family in Niamey, Niger when he was involved in a fatal car accident. Not only was this a loss for his friends and family, but also to the community that had learnt much about their nomadic culture through his music. With continuing political instability ongoing in Mali (a topic covered in our current issue, November/December 2012, #88), voices like Koudede’s were crucial to the cause of defending Touareg musicians.
He went from creating his first guitar out of an old tin can in his youth to accompanying one of the founding fathers of Touareg music, Abdallah Oumbadougou, whose album Zozodinga is reviewed in our current issue (p72).
Before his untimely passing, he was first noticed with his song ‘Cure Salée’, using lyrics from Touareg poetry and drawing inspiration from his ever-changing surroundings. He enjoyed playing with other Touareg musicians before settling down to compose his own music that concentrated on Touareg tradition.
Koudede stayed faithful to his culture and his life long passion for his heritage allowed him to produce inspirational music that will no doubt be remembered for the messages they conveyed as well as his musical ability.