Last week Toumast announced that the dates for their planned American tour this spring are cancelled. Fans looking foward to the upcoming shows will have to wait fot the opportunity to watch the Toureg band perform late this summer. Target dates have been set for September since shows were pushed back in an effort to make the most of some offers the band received for the fall.
Moussa Ag Keyna, founding member and guitarist for Toumast, was born in the north of the Azawagh Valley, a remote region that runs along the border between Niger and Mali. In 1987 he joined the political movement that fought for the recognition of the Tourag people by the Malian government. During his involvement Ag Kenya learned to play guitar in the ishumar style. After he was badly injured in 1993, Ag Kenya was taken to France to recover. Two years later he received word that 12 of his comrades had been assassinated.
Out of his loss came the song “12 Moons” and Ag Kenya decided to continue to fight for the recognition of his people through his music. Toumast was born when he teamed up with his niece, percussionist and vocalist Aminatou Goumar, and the French multi-instrumentalist/ producer Dan Levy. Although the band has collaborated with several Western artists, incuding the Digital Bled project, they released their first album, Ishumar in 2005.