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Genre: Blues / Rock / Roots Music
Location Please select your region., Ma
Profile Views: 1121513
Last Login: 11/2/2011
Member Since 3/27/2007
Record Label Independiente / Emma
Type of Label Indie
BioBiography: How do you compress a thirty-year epic into a few pages? Tinariwen, whose back-story has variously been described as “the most compelling of any band” (Songlines), “the most rock’n’roll of them all” (The Irish Times), “hard-bitten” (Slate.com) and “dramatic” (The Independent), are both a dream and a nightmare for any aspiring music writer: a dream because the most superficial ‘headlines’ of their tale – rebellion, guns and guitars, desert nomads, Ghadaffi, the real Saharan blues – are like easy nuggets of gold to thrill-seeking journalists and literary prospectors. And a nightmare, because none of these clich�s really do the band justice or even begin to describe who they are, what they feel or the music they play. The following comprises only the chapter headings, the main way markers of the long road the group have travelled from the wild empty places of the southern Sahara desert to the concert stages of the world. In the early 1960s, Mali threw off the yoke of French colonial rule and became an independent country, ruled by a new African elite from the capital Bamako. A thousand miles away in the northern desert regions, the nomadic Touareg or Kel Tamashek (‘The Tamashek speaking people’) had trouble recognising the legitimacy of their new rulers or accepting their socialist laws and taxes, their alien ways and demands. In 1963 there was a Touareg uprising in a large remote part of the desert called The Adrar des Iforas, around the small outpost of Kidal with its old French Foreign Legion fort. It was brutally suppressed by the Malian army. The period still haunts the local population like a nightmare. Of the many stories of suffering and incidents of callousness that survive in the collective memory, there is one that is crucial to our story. It concerns a mason and trader by the name of Alhabib Ag Sidi who was arrested in front of his family in the village of Tessalit, taken to the barracks in Kidal and executed for aiding the rebels. The army then went and destroyed Alhabib’s herd of camels, cattle and goats. His young four-year old son Ibrahim witnessed this wanton act of destruction before travelling north into exile in Algeria with his family and their one remaining cow. By 1964 the uprising had been crushed, and the Adrar des Iforas was turned into a no-go zone, ruled by the Army. Ibrahim Ag Alhabib grew up in refugee camps near Bordj Moktar or in the deserts around the southern Algerian city of Tamanrasset. He hated school and preferred running wild in the bush. One day he saw a film at a makeshift desert village cinema. It was a western and it featured a cowboy playing a guitar. The instrument made Ibrahim dream. He built his own guitar out of a tin can, a stick and bicycle brake wire. He started to play old Touareg melodies on it, and modern Arabic pop tunes. After a while, he became pretty good. He was a solitary kid anyway, who kept himself to himself and was known as ‘Abaraybone’ or ‘raggamuffin child’ by the other kids and adults. .... At the age of 9 Ibrahim ran away from home in a cement truck, to earn some money and see the world. He grew up wandering around Algeria and Libya doing odd jobs – carpenter, builder, tailor, gardener. It was a precarious existence; made bearable by the companionship of many other young Touareg men who were living the same marginal life in exile. The northern desert regions of Mali had been struck by a catastrophic drought in 1973-4, which had almost wiped out the animal herds and the traditional nomadic way of life with it. Algeria and Libya were awash with errant exiled Touareg youth; jobless, paperless, surviving by any means necessary. They would gather together in groups and sleep rough on the outskirts of villages and towns, sharing food, cigarettes, songs and stories. The police would harass them mercilessly, shouting “Hey you! Les chomeurs! (‘unemployed’ in French).” In the age-old tradition of the underclass, this insult was turned into a badge of honour, and these young men became known as the ‘ishumar’ generation. .... Towards the end of the 1970s, Ibrahim began to meet other Touareg of his age who shared his passion for music of all kinds, from traditional Touareg poetry and song to the radical chaabi protest music of Moroccan groups like Nass El Ghiwane and Jil Jilala, from Algerian pop rai to western rock and pop artists like Elvis Presley, Led Zeppelin, Carlos Santana, Dire Straits, Jimmy Hendrix, Boney M and Bob Marley. His most important early musical partners were Inteyeden Ag Ablil, his brother Liya, aka ‘Diarra’, Ag Ablil, and Hassan Ag Touhami aka ‘The Lion of the Desert’. This group of friends got together in Tamanrasset, and began to play at parties and weddings. They acquired their first real acoustic guitar in 1979, and their reputation grew. They were new and radical inasmuch as they wrote their own poems and songs – not the old Touareg verse of heroic deeds and fair maidens – but new lyrics about homesickness, longing, exile and political awakening. In order to keep out of trouble with the law, Ibrahim, Inteyeden and their friends would often just disappear off into the desert for a night or two, to drink tea, make music and sleep under the stars. People began to call them ‘Kel Tinariwen’, which translates literally as ‘The People of the Deserts’ or roughly and more accurately as ‘The Desert Boys’. .... In 1980, Colonel Ghadaffi put out a decree inviting all young Touareg men, who were living illegally in Libya, to come and receive a full military training at a designated camp in the southern desert. It was an opportunistic move. The Touareg had long held a reputation as brilliant bushmen and desert fighters. Ghadaffi dreamed of forming a Saharan regiment, made up of the best young Touareg fighters, to further his territorial ambitions in Chad, Niger and elsewhere. .... Seeing it as a heaven-sent chance to learn how to be soldiers and take back their homeland by force, Ibrahim and most of his friends answered the call immediately. Their training was very tough, and lasted only nine months. Four years later, in 1985, they were invited back into a new camp near Tripoli. This time it was run by the leaders of the Touareg rebel movement, the MPA (Mouvement Populaire de l’Azawad). Ibrahim, Inteyeden, Diarra and Hassan were joined by a whole new group of aspiring musicians, including Keddou Ag Ossade aka ‘Hiwaj’, Mohammed Ag Itlale aka ‘Japonais’, Sweiloum, Abouhadid and the young Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni. They formed a collective and built their own make-shift rehearsal studio, equipping it with basic gear bought with the money from a communal chest into which all recruits paid contributions. Their mission was to write songs about the rebellion, about the aspirations of the Touareg for political freedom, for education and development, and then to record these songs without payment for whoever turned up at their door with an empty cassette. It was a propaganda machine for a people without any other forms of media whatsoever. The cassettes were taken back to camps and villages throughout the Sahara, copied, and then copied again and again and again. It was a cassette-to-cassette grapevine and the sound quality was as atrocious as the message was powerful. .... Ibrahim, Inteyeden, Japonais, Diarra, Hassan and their friends never saw themselves as one-dimensional propagandists however. They were musicians and poets. Their songs spoke of deep personal struggles and of their love of their desert home, as much as they raised the flag for the rebel movement. In 1989, frustrated by the lack of progress and by broken promises, the members of Tinariwen escaped from the Libyan camp and headed south into Mali. Ibrahim found himself back in Tessalit, the village of his birth, for the first time in 26 years. And then, in June 1990, the rebellion began. . It lasted about six months. The Malian government offered peace terms to the MPA in January 1991 and the Tamanrasset Accords were signed. The rebel movement split into different factions comprising those who were pro or contra the Accords. It was a confusing, desperate and often dispiriting time. Most of Tinariwen decided to leave the military life behind and go back to being musicians. And that was it…six months of open combat in a story lasting three decades or more. No wonder the group are frustrated and bored by journalists who remain obsessed with the romantic myth of guns and guitars, of rebellion and war. In 1991, Ibrahim and his friends had no doubt that they were musicians first and foremost. They had become soldiers only out of necessity, for a brief and painful period. It was all over in a flicker. The group headed home to Tessalit and Kidal, or went to seek work in Gao, Mopti and Bamako. Some, like Keddou, accepted posts in the army, the customs service or in education under a UN sponsored programme aimed at reintegrating rebels into civil society. In groups of two, three, four or more, they also began to play gigs openly. Touareg from all over the Sahara were delighted finally to encounter the group who had invented the modern Touareg guitar style, who had been the pied pipers of the rebellion and whose songs defined the story of a whole generation. Their secret was unveiled. But it was a discreet success. In 1992 some of the members of Tinariwen went to Abidjan in Ivory Coast to record a cassette at the legendary JBZ studios. They played gigs for Touareg communities throughout north and West Africa, but not that often. They were nomads at heart, and the collective was often spread out over thousands of miles. But that was the group’s strength. Just two members could get together in a village with a guitar or two, a djembe or water can for percussion, and sing the songs of Tinariwen. It’s often said that every Touareg from Tamanrasset to Niamey and from Timbuktu to Ghat is a member of Tinariwen, so widely are their songs known and treasured. They are more of a social movement than a desert rock’n’roll band. Then news came that a French group called Lo’Jo wanted to invite Tinariwen to Europe. This adventurous bunch of musical troubadours lived in Angers, in the Loire valley. Angers was twinned with Bamako. In 1998 Lo’Jo travelled to the Malian capital for a festival of street theatre and music, and there they met Issa Dicko and Foy Foy, two members of the Tinariwen collective, who told them all about the sufferings of the Touareg, the droughts, the rebellion, the exile. Together they came up with the idea of creating a festival based on the traditional annual gatherings of Touareg in each part of the desert, which would hopefully open up the desert regions to cultural exchange, tourism and investment. It was a crazy improbable scheme. In 1999 some of the members of Tinariwen came and did a few gigs in France under the name of AZAWAD. And then in January 2001, the first Festival in the Desert took place in Tin Essako, 60 km east of Kidal. About 1000 locals, and 80 Europeans gathered in that remote beautiful spot. Tinariwen were the stars of the show. A new international phase of their long hard journey was about to begin. Success came swiftly. By the end of 2001, Tinariwen had performed at WOMAD, Roskilde and the South Bank in London. Their debut CD, ‘The Radio Tisdas Sessions’, recorded by Justin Adams and Jean-Paul Romann in the studios of Kidal’s only Tamashek-speaking radio station, Radio Tisdas, was released on IRL / Wayward in October. Initially lauded by the world music scene and by African music aficionados, Tinariwen’s magic quickly began to work on those with little previous interest in those areas. The guitar licks, the grungy grimy desert sound, the arcane yet effortless rhythms, the striking turbans and robes, the wild rebel iconography, the scintillating exoticism of Kalashnikovs and Stratocasters, the glimpsed power of their poetry, so strange and yet somehow so thrillingly familiar…it all synched in with a general fatigue amongst adventurous pop and rock fans, exasperated with endless young drum-bass-and-two-guitars, indi-rock bands. Over the past seven years, the group have played over 700 concerts in Europe, North America, Japan and Australia. Their name has graced the bills of most of the world’s premier rock and world music festivals including Glastonbury, Coachella, Roskilde, Paleo, Les Vieilles Charrues, WOMAD and Printemps de Bourges. Their 2004 CD ‘Amassakoul’ (“The Traveller’) and its follow-up in 2007 ‘Aman Iman’ (“Water Is Life”), have established them as one of the most popular and best selling African groups on the planet. Their ever expanding fan base includes a host of stars and legends: Carlos Santana, Robert Plant, Bono and the Edge, Thom Yorke, Chris Martin, Henry Rollins, Brian Eno, TV on the Radio. In 2005 they were awarded a BBC Award for World Music, and in 2008 they received Germany’s prestigious Praetorius Music Prize. Those are the outward stats of success. Deep inside, Ibrahim, Hassan, Japonais and Abdallah gently rejoice in their improbable victory against all the odds. When they were just youths sharing a cigarette under the shade of an acacia tree somewhere in the southern Sahara, they always dreamed of travelling and seeing the world. Now they’ve done it. But their biggest source of pride has been in representing their music and their culture to the world and spreading the message that despite all the twisted words and propaganda to the contrary, the desert really is one of the most beautiful, most peaceful and most inspirational places on earth. Ibrahim’s only real regret is that his friend Inteyeden hasn’t been at his side during these payback years. The charismatic co-inventor of modern Touareg guitar rock died in 1994 from a mysterious illness. Since 2001, the founders and elders of Tinariwen have been supported and energised by a new younger generation including bassist Eyadou Ag Leche, percussionist Said Ag Ayad, rhythm guitarist Elaga Ag Hamid, guitarist Abdallah Ag Lamida aka ‘Intidao’, vocalists Wonou Walet Sidati and the Walet Oumar sisters. They were just children when the rebellion ravaged the north of Mali and Niger. They grew up on Tinariwen’s songs. Their presence in the group brings Tinariwen in line with so many long-lasting music and theatre groups in Africa and elsewhere, who, by integrating successive generations of artists into their ranks, become self-perpetuating. In December of 2008 the old and the young gathered in the sleepy desert village of Tessalit to record Tinariwen’s fourth album. It seemed like the ideal place; quiet, off the beaten track, home to Hassan and Ibrahim, blessed with a plentiful water supply and a friendly familiar populace. The group had expressed a strong desire to return to their roots and recapture the raw desert sound of their early recordings. Lo’Jo’s French sound engineer, Jean-Paul Romann, who had worked with Justin Adams on ‘The Radio Tisdas Sessions’ eight years previously, was recruited to produce the album. He arrived with a studio in a suitcase, which was set up in a rented adobe house in the middle of the village, and powered by a chugging generator. The sessions proceeding slowly, surely, in pace with the rhythm of life in that remote corner of Africa. There were free concerts for the local populace in the village square, and recording sessions far out in the bush. There were solitary nights around the fire, under the stars, and parties here and there in the village. It was all very strange, very familiar, just like Tinariwen themselves. ‘Imidiwan’ is one of those big Tamashek words, to which no single English word can ever do justice. Just like ‘Assouf’, the name which the Touareg themselves often give Tinariwen’s guitar style. ‘Assouf’ means the blues, loneliness, heartache, longing, homesickness and the darkness beyond the campfire. ‘Imidiwan’ means friends, companions, soul-brothers, fellow travellers. The juxtaposition of these two words is particularly striking. Maybe Tinariwen are coming in from the cold and recognising all those soul-friends, both living and departed, who have made their incredible journey bearable, whilst warming their hands over the camp fire and looking up at the night sky thick with stars. Andy Morgan, May 2009
MembersIt's often said that every Touareg in the southern Sahara is a member of Tinariwen, such is the reach and importance of the band in their home territory. It’s true that dozens of different people have played, danced and sung with the band during their long history. Various crucial participants in the Tinariwen story are now for various reasons no longer permanent fixtures in the band. These include founder member Inteyeden, who died of a mysterious illness in 1994, legendary rebel and fearless desert groover Kheddou, who along with rhythm-guitarist extraordinaire Djarra have now formed a new band called Terakaft (‘The Caravan’), singer Wounou Wallet Oumar, sister of Mina, who died of a kidney infection in 2005 and bassist Sweiloum, who is taking vacation from music. Meanwhile, here are the active members of Tinariwen: ..Ibrahim AG ALHABIB aka ‘Abaraybone’ – Lead Vocals & Lead Guitar.... The man who invented the Tamashek electric guitar style whilst a young exile in Tamanrasset in Southern Algeria. The inspiration and the source of the whole Tinariwen story. .... .. .... ..Hassan AG TOUHAMI aka ‘Abin Abin’ aka ‘Le Lion du D..sert’ aka ‘Aharr’ – Lead Vocals, Guitar & Dance.... The best dancer and vibemaster between Algiers and the banks of the Niger River, Hassan co-founded the group with Ibrahim back in 1979…favourite saying: “..a c’est pour les oiseaux ..a…n’a vaut rien!!” .... .. .... ..Abdallah AG ALHOUSSEYNI aka ‘Catastrophe’ – Lead Vocals & Acoustic Guitar.... Unlike Ibrahim and Hassan, who come from Tessalit, Abdallah is a from a clan of marabouts or holymen who live in nomad camps in the Tamesna, a vast arid desert east of Kidal. Abdallah joined Tinariwen in the late 1980s, when they were living in the military camp near Tripoli in Libya. He fought the Touareg rebellion of 1990-1 alongside Ibrahim, Hassan, Kheddou and Japonias. .... .. .... ..Mohammed AG ITLALE aka ‘Japonais’.... One of the most respected and revered poets in northeastern Mali, but too wild to be part of the touring party, Japonais contributed two tracks to the latest album ‘Aman Iman’ and spends his time with his three daughters in Tessalit. .... .. .... ..Eyadou AG LECHE – Bass, Backing Vocals, Calabash.... Eyadou has been Tinariwen’s bassist since 2003, and taking more of a central role in the creative process. .... .. .... ..Said AG AYAD – Percussion & Backing Vocals.... The man who can make a djembe sound like a fulll rock’n’roll drumkit. .... .. .... ..Elaga AG HAMID – Rhythm Guitar & Backing Vocals.... As self-effacing as his guitar chopping is cutting, and spot-on. You have to strain hard to see Elaga in concert, hiding behind Said and Eyadou. .... .. .... ..Abdallah AG LAMIDA aka ‘Intidao’ – Guitar & Backing Vocals.... The most recent addition to the Tinariwen line-up, and learning super-fast. .... .. ....
InfluencesThe traditional music of the Kel Tamashek, Ali Farka Touré, Boubacar Traore, Takamba Super 11, Salif Keita, Nass El Ghiwane, Oum Khalthoum, Rabah Driassa, Khaled, Ait Menguellet, Idir, Elvis Presley, Santana, Bad Company, Motorhead, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, the blues, Led Zeppelin, Justin Adams, Robert Plant, Lo’Jo, Dire Straits, Don Williams & Blackfire.
Sounds LikeAs if... Keith Richards, Santana, John Lee Hooker, various members of Primal Scream and the Grateful Dead had got lost in the Sahara for a decade and then returned as a fully-fledged desert band. 'Cler Achel' Music Video ..(Made up of footage from the forthcoming Live DVD, which features an entire performance shot at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire, as well as extensive interviews, backstage footage and on the road extras. Watch this space for more....) .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .... .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .... 'Aman Iman' EPK .... .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .... 'Ammasakoul' - Live at the Montreaux Jazz Festival with Santana .... .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .... 'Amidiwan' - Live at Africa Calling 2005 .... .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Tinariwen are often associated with just one image: that of Touareg rebels leading the charge, machine gun in hand and electric guitar slung over the shoulder. The band ditch this cliché on their fifth album ‘Tassili’ and it’s for the best. The founding members abandoned their weapons long ago and on this new album they have engineered a minor aesthetic revolution by setting the electric guitar - the instrument which became their mascot and made them famous - to one side and giving pride of place to acoustic sounds, recorded right in the heart of the desert, which is the landscape of their existence, the cradle of their culture and the source of their inspiration. You might even call this radical move a return to the very essence of their art, a return which, paradoxically, has also opened the doors to some intriguing collaborations with members of TV On The Radio, Nels Cline (Wilco’s guitarist) or The Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
There is some truth in that old cliché of the soldier-musician. In the 1980s, Ibrahim, Abdallah, Hassan, ‘Japonais’ and Kheddou began to play together in and around the town of Tamanrasset in southern Algeria. They would perform at weddings, baptisms or just simple youthful get-togethers. They then spent several years in the same military training camp in Libya before the Touareg rebellion broke out simultaneously in Mali and Niger and sent them out onto the field of battle in the southern Sahara. In parallel, their songs, recorded on cassettes scattered far and wide, helped to broadcast the message of a rebel movement that set out to promote the rights of nomadic people suffering under the arbitrary policies of repressive and distant central governments. When peace was signed in 1994, their demobilisation coincided with profound changes in the way of life of those desert people, whose traditions had been irrevocably upended by years of drought and sedentarization. Such calamities forced many young Kel Tamashek – the people who speak Tamashek, the language of the Touareg – into exile. Tinariwen became the spokespeople of a generation which looked on helplessly as their harvests thinned, their animal herds wasted away and their world slowly crumbled.
There was a time when Bob Marley and the Wailers lived a certain paradox, albeit on a different scale, to the one that was to greet Tinariwen: that of singing about the distress of their people whilst becoming global stars in the process. For it was in the embers of this social trauma, which remains just as precarious today, that Tinariwen caught fire and went global. The group, losing some of its original members and gaining new ones along the way, became a professional unit that toured the world, headlining at various important festivals including the Eurockéennes de Belfort in France, Glastonbury in the UK and Coachella in the US. Their albums Aman Iman (2007) and Imidiwan (2009) were eulogized by the media and attracted the praises of Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, Thom Yorke, Brian Eno or Carlos Santana, with whom Tinariwen performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2006. Nonetheless, this success, this universal recognition didn’t alter the essence or spirit of their musical style, which mixes the bitter sound of spiky guitars with the often pantheistic approach of lyrical poetry that celebrates the sacred union between a people and their environment, and is the reflection of painful collective circumstances.
These circumstances have become considerably harder in recent months, to the point where the group were forced to record their new album far from their base in Tessalit, northern Mali, which is now deemed too insecure for outsiders to visit. Sticking with their desire to return to the roots of their music, and rediscover the age-old habits of their art, out in the wild, with acoustic guitars and unamplified percussion, they opted instead to record out in the deserts of southern Algeria, near the town of Djanet, in a protected region called the Tassili N’Ajjer. The place has historical significance for these old rebels. Back in the days of migration and rebellion it served as a refuge on the road to the Libyan training camps. It was in this lunar landscape of white sand, rocky outcrops and astounding geological riches, in that mineral solitude which lends itself so powerfully to introspection and the outpouring of deep feeling, that musicians and technicians gathered between November and December 2010, under a Mauritanian tent, with 400 kilos of gear and a mountain of problems to solve. The wind that made the tent frames creak, the sand that invaded the electric equipment, the constant chugging of the electricity generators, these were just some of the unwelcome intrusions that had to be overcome.
In this natural open space it was decided to approach the sessions in an unorthodox manner and, unlike the way it’s done in most studios, let the musicians give their inspiration free rein during seemingly endless sessions around the campfire. It took three weeks to gather all the songs on ‘Tassili’. Some are recent. Others have been dug up out of a much older, even traditional, repertoire. The latter only become obvious candidates when the guitars were picked up and strummed and other acoustic instruments played.
During the last week of recordings the singer Tunde Adebimpe and the guitarist Kyp Malone from the New York band TV On The Radio arrived at the camp. The two bands had been forging links ever since they met at the Coachella Festival in California back in 2009, links which were consolidated at Tinariwen’s Hollywood Bowl gig in Los Angeles a year later when Kyp and Tunde were invited on stage to jam with the band. Out in the desert, the contributions of the two musicians on five songs and later additions by guitarist Nels Cline and the horns of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, recorded in their manor down in new Orleans, give ‘Tassili’ the intriguing character of an album which reaches deep into the essence of Tinariwen’s art whilst simultaneously opening itself out to the wider world.
Ibrahim Ag Alhabib sets out on a musical journey between sand dunes and vaulting stars with a solemn question: “What have you got to say, my friends, about this painful time we’re living through?” The notion of a people in peril, fighting for their survival, both cultural and psychological, traverses ‘Tassili’ like a stick of rock. The decision to use acoustic guitars, unamplified percussion, the jerry can ‘calabash’ and hand claps, suggest a great deal more than a closeness between these musicians and their desert - more like a communion.
‘Tenéré Taqhim Tossam’ is a declaration of love, tempered by respect and humility, for that desert landscape which is seemingly so demanding, so stingy with its water, but whose beauty and mystery are enough to quench the spiritual thirst that irks the soul of desert people and which they call ‘assouf’. Tunde Adebimpe’s added vocals reinforce the humility, even vulnerability, which that relationship requires. In the desert’s gruelling natural environment, everyone has to make sure that their honesty and integrity remain intact. That’s precisely what Ibrahim sings about in ‘Tameyawt’, an almost whispered song that invites us into the Saharan night to join him in spirit. Or in ‘Walla Illa’, which is about a turbulent love affair that slips and slides between pain and hope. Women, whose voices were so present on previous Tinariwen albums, have disappeared from this one, but never have they been so constantly invoked, especially in the songs ‘Tamiditin Tan Ufrawan’, ‘Iswegh Attay’ or ‘Tilliaden Osamnat’.
Tinariwen’s music and sensibility have always been close to the American Blues and on ‘Tassili’ they re-enact the emotions of an individual who finds himself face to face with loneliness and doubt, gripped by torment, the prisoner of inextricable circumstances (‘Djeredjere’). But that individual also manages to find hope in the strength of his community (‘Imidiwan Wan Sahara’) or in the simple pleasure afforded by insignificant daily moments, as on the song ‘Takest Tamidarest’, sung by Abdallah, which drops us right in the middle of the desert, with its slow-baked pace that lends itself to pure contemplation of man’s surrounding and to profound inner meditation. For that reason, ‘Tassili’ isn’t just an extraordinary musical moment, in which Tinariwen repossess their own art to the extent that they feel completely relaxed about inviting others into their world, it’s also a shared human experience of rare quality.
Original text by Francis Dordor; Translated from the French by Andy Morgan
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As if Keith Richards, Santana, John Lee Hooker, various members of Primal Scream and the Grateful Dead had got lost in the Sahara for a decade and then returned as a fully-fledged desert band.