Occur Goes Global - The Music of Chad

Chad is a land-locked country in Africa that has absorbed and adopted a prism of cultural influences. The population is predominately Sunni Muslim, with pockets of Christianity and animism contributing to the soul of their music. Drums, lutes and vocal manipulations - in Arabic, French and English, as well as a multitude of indigenous dialects - paint the canvas of Chad's arts. These five musical entities are especially crucial to the spread of Chadian sounds.



Clement Masdongar

This artist’s machine kills negativity. With soft, catchy numbers like “Let the Sunshine,” Masdongar aims to incite peace in French and English. The balladeer goes beyond his country’s strife to encourage harmony in all nations, via songs such as “Shalom Israel” off 2014’s Ouest Foire.



Named for the mountain range surrounding their dwellings, Tibesti use call-and-response and percussion to tell their musical stories. Tamtam gongs and electric guitars mesh as the core trio – Ali Adoum, Aimé Palyo and Thierry Martial Tsoungui – relish in the uptemp sai genre. (Thank you to Worldly Rise for the info.)


Mounira Mitchala

Though she resides in France, Mounira Mitchala always creates with Chad in her heart. When she won the RFI Discoveries Award in 2007, she used the accolade to bring awareness to forced marriages, AIDS, civil war and drought. Her music is sung in Arabic and can set one’s soul at ease with its hypnotic rhythms and her pleasant soprano.



Think of these Chadian ex-pats as the Boyz II Men of Canada. Their strength lies in their exemplary voices— so much so that they mostly perform a capella. Songs such as “Taryam” blend African and North American timbres for a holistic experience. They frequently tour the United States and are championed by world music fans across the globe.


The artists of “Stop Palu”

If “We Are the World” were less schmaltzy, it would sound like this smooth cautionary song. In 2012, an array of Chadian artists banded together to write this anthem to increase malaria awareness. Notable countrymen including Prince D, rapper Sultan and Mariam contributed to the piece, which has reached more than two-thirds of the nation, according to the Malaria No More organization.

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