Noura Mint Seymali

Noura Mint Seymali is a nationally beloved star and one of Mauritania’s foremost musical emissaries. Born into a prominent line of Moorish griot, Noura began her career at age 13 as a supporting vocalist with her stepmother, the legendary Dimi Mint Abba. She was trained in instrumental technique by her grandmother, Mounina, and mastered the ardine, a 9-string harp reserved only for women. Seymali Ould Ahmed Vall, Noura’s father and namesake, was a seminal scholar figure in Mauritanian music who studied Arab classical music in Iraq, devised the first system for Moorish melodic notation, adapted the national anthem, and composed many works popularized by his wife, Dimi. All of these notable accomplishments would later spark Noura's compositional instincts. Reared in this transitive culture where sounds from across the Sahara, the Magreb, and West Africa coalesce, Noura Mint Seymali currently drives the legacy forward as one of Mauritania’s most adventurous young artists.


Because of the high travel costs, the band's manager stressed the importance of making a trip to the U.S worthwhile by having a line of performances scheduled in advance in order to help break-even. However, he acknowledged that the U.S. market place is very different in the sense that presenters do not cover these costs for artists, unlike in the European music market place. Through the globalFEST Touring Fund, they were able to secure some funding for their U.S. tour.

There is no other artist in the history of Mauritania that has toured as extensively in the US as Noura Mint Seymali’s band has. Through performances at events like globalFEST (USA), Festival-au-Desert (Mali), Hayy Festival (Egypt), Jeux de Francophonie (France) and Festival Timitar (Morocco) and collaborations with artists like Tinariwen, Bassekou Kouyaté, and Baaba Maal, the band is actively exposing Mauritanian roots music to the world. In a rare merger of cultural authority and experimental prowess, Noura Mint Seymali applies the ancient musical traditions of the griot with a savvy aesthetic engagement in our contemporary moment, emerging as a powerful voice at nexus of a changing Africa.