"Les Filles de Illighadad comes from the village of Illighadad in a remote region of central Niger. Like many of the villages in the area, its borders are loosely defined, owing to the largely pastoral population. It rests on the shore of a seasonal pond that swells during the rainy season. The center of town has a well, some small houses, and a school. But most of Illighadad’s people live in the surrounding scrubland desert, in tiny patched roof houses or temporary nomadic tents, hidden among the trees. (...)

At the heart of Les Filles’ music is the percussion and poetry of tende—a term used for both the instrument and the type of music— whereby a mortar and pestle are transformed into a drum, and women join together in a circle, in a chorus of singing, chanting, and clapping. Sometimes it’s music for celebration, sometimes it’s music to heal the sick, sometimes it’s poetry of love. But it’s always music of people, where the line between performer and spectator breaks down. To be a witness is to be a participant, to listen is to join in the collective song. It’s precisely this collectivism that makes the recording “At Pioneer Works” seem so natural and timeless. Recorded in the Fall of 2019, “At Pioneer Works” finds the band at the height of their touring career. Over two sold-out shows, the band brought Illighadad to New York, their first performance in the city. Speaking of the night, The New Yorker's music critic Amanda Petrusich writes: “The crowd in Brooklyn was entranced, nearly reverent. Les Filles’ music is mesmeric, almost prayer-like, which can leave an audience agog... whatever rhythm does to a human body—it was happening. (...)" - Christopher Kirkley