Hailing from the heart of old Gao in Mali, Oumar Toure and Aliou Toure were, like most kids growing up in the ancient city, obsessed with hip-hop, R&B and bands like The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. By their early 20s, having met young guitarist Garba Toure, they began to make music while at university. The growing unrest in the north of Mali saw Oumar, Aliou, Garba and many of their family take refuge down south in Bamako as hostilities worsened in early 2012 and Songhoy Blues were born from this adversity. They roped in a drummer called Nathanial Dembele and baptised their band Songhoy Blues in celebration of their displaced people and culture.

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