The songs on Zoy Zoy are a mix of traditionals and originals, and they are intense. They are extraordinarily sophisticated. The band speak French, but use the expression "very rock and roll" quite seriously, implying their awareness that the loud guitars and bewildering rhythmic complexity separate them from their peers. They are proud that their members represent the different cultural groups of Niger, some of which haven't always been on the best of terms (the group includes Tuareg, Hausa, Fulani, and Zarma). Still, they are aware that Western ears may not fully grasp their self-proclaimed "rock" label, and we sure don't know many rock bands that keep folks dancing in a trance-like state for 5 hours at a time.
Zoy Zoy was recorded in Niamey, Niger's capital, by Chicago-based Jamie Carter, using a remote recording rig in a dusty makeshift studio. The country has no proper recording studios, music instrument shops, or record stores. The drummer makes his own sticks. Despite this or perhaps because of it, Tal National thrives in a country parched of resources but teeming with music and rhythm. The band would record all day, then head out at night for more lengthy performances, bringing the energy of each night’s performance back to the studio. Zoy Zoy is a distillation of Tal National’s traditional roots, determination and tireless drive into pure joy and celebration.