The Islamist rebel group Ansar Dine gained control of northern Mali in 2012. They imposed Sharia law, banning alcohol, cigarettes and music. Garba Touré, son of Ali Farka Touré, the best African guitarist of all time, had good reason to move to Bamako. A wise choice because in the capital of Mali, Songhoy Blues was born. Together with Aliou Touré, guitarist Oumar Touré (neither of whom are family) and drummer Nathanael Dembélé he pays homage to the pure desert blues of the Songhoy, who were once a powerful people in northern Mali (between Timbuktu and Gao). Songhoy Blues’s authentic and stirring sound soon drew the attention of Africa Express, the scouting project of Blur frontman Damon Albarn, who quickly took the band to the UK. Since that time, Songhoy Blues have released their debut album with the fitting title Music In Exile (2015) and they have played at many European festivals. An absolute must-see in Ahoy for fans of energetic blues-rock with a West-African groove.