Tama

Most bands, whether in the western rock tradition or in African music, are built around the concept of a leader - one strong character who is the main writer, singer and spokesman and who dominates proceedings so that the other band members are little more than hired guns.

The beauty of Tama is that there is no single leader but four equally accomplished musicians and songwriters with their own contrasting but complimentary voices. “As a group it’s totally democratic and open,” explains guitarist Sam Mills.

"Tama is a kind of space where the four of us can come together from different cultures and traditions and express ourselves." Sam Mills

“Tama is a kind of space where the four of us can come together from different cultures and traditions and express ourselves. It’s a band of distinctive individual personalities but everybody contributes to the realisation of each other’s songs.”

As the name ‘Tama’ (a Bambara word meaning ‘to walk’) suggests, the band’s approach was to collect years of travelling memories rather than trying to represent or revive a traditional folklore.

Tama

Guinea-Bissau, Mali, United Kingdom

Further reading

Bab L’ Bluz’s Yousra Mansour guests on BBC Music Life podcast

Yousra discusses her creative processes with Derya Yildirim, Hasan Nakhleh, Merve Erdem.

Announcing M’berra: the forthcoming album by Khalab & M’berra Ensemble

M'berra is out on Real World Records on 23 April 2021.

Track of the Day: ‘Mustt Mustt’ by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Taking an in-depth look at the Qawwali singer's most loved song.

Alternative Valentines: 22 Love songs from across the world

A an eclectic collection of love songs taken from the Real World Records catalogue.