Get Ready to Dance – Tal National Artist Spotlight

Guest post by Renee Ordway
Tal National is expecting nothing less.

In their home country of Niger in West Africa the energetic and generous group is known to play for as long as five hours at a time.

Tal National is so busy that the 14-member group has split into two groups.

One tours and the other stays in Niger playing in night clubs and weddings.

Their music represents the very diverse culture of Niger.

Band leader and guitarist Almeida – who is a judge by day – says American Folk Festival goers can expect a very energetic show that is a little bit rock and roll.

“We incorporate different musical elements into our sound while still making it accessible to everyone – even children. People familiar with music can have fun hearing the combined sound and everyone else can just have fun dancing,” he told me.

Known for lightening fast rhythms, Almeida says the band’s songs are a combination of traditional folk songs and original compositions.

“In general each song is presented in a way that everyone can relate to. It is a representation of our people and culture. We also have some songs where we sing about our fans and the people who support us. It is our way to give back,” he said.
The music will pull you to your feet, but before he starts Almeida will ask the audience if they have heard of Niger and know where it is?

“I want to educate people about our country and our culture. Most of that we can do through our music, but I’ll tell you all a few things too,” he said.

Like all of the folk music you will hear at the AFF, Tal National’s music is deep-rooted in community tradition.

In a review of their latest album release “Zoy Zoy” a New York Times reviewer wrote, “Guitar licks, hopscotching bass lines, cymbal off beats, talking drums, all land with microscopic precision and can reconfigure in an instant.”
Tal National was formed in 2000 and today they tour all over the world. Their appearance at the AFF is part of their third US tour.

They’ve actually been in Maine before playing at the Space Gallery in Portland. They were most impressed with the reception they received and the responsive audience.

“Our schedule was so busy we didn’t get to see anything outside of Portland so we are very much looking forward to this trip to see more of Maine,” Almeida said.
So come and listen, learn, dance and welcome this busy group to the American Folk Festival on the Bangor waterfront.
Renee volunteers for the American Folk Festival, sits on the Board at the Bangor Humane Society and lives in Bangor with her husband.
Dan Cashman

About Dan Cashman

Dan Cashman has been involved with the American Folk Festival since 2011 and is currently serving on the board of the Festival. For more information about the American Folk Festival, visit