Tinariwen – from underground cassettes to the world

Tinariwen – “Imidiwan Afrik Temdam”

Music is the universal language. And sometimes you hear something universal that you don’t readily understand. For me, hearing this mp3 from Tinariwen for the first time a week ago was such a moment. The mood of the song is so soothing and reassuring, life affirming and wise, it grew on me slowly and before I knew it was in love. The singing and guitar playing is such magnificent ear candy, I can’t stop playing the album over and over now. For a glimpse into the story behind this band, here’s a quote from their most unusual bio –

During the early 1980s, in a rebel camp run by Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, a band was formed by musicians from the Touareg (Saharan nomads from Mali) tribe. They called themselves Tinariwen, which means “empty spaces” in their native Tamashek. Their music incorporated hypnotic, rocked-out, bluesy-sounding electric guitars (a first for people from an area where power is only sporadically available) while retaining traditional instruments, rhythms and call-and-response vocals. For nearly two decades, Tinariwen’s underground cassettes counseled anti-violence and ethnic pride amid encroaching chaos, making them a beacon of empowerment for local youth struggling with the demise of “camel culture” and conflicting propaganda. A performance at The Festival in the Desert, the worldwide release of The Radio Tisdas Sessions (2001)) and Amassakoul (“Traveler” – 2004), and an international tour brought their ancient-modern Tishoumaren (“guitar”) sound to new audiences, catapulting these indigo-clad tribes-men-and-women to universal fame. It also gained them admiration from pop stars like Robert Plant and Carlos Santana. Their third CD, produced by British bluesman and World Village label-mate Justin Adams, was recorded at Bogolan studios in Bamako, Mali. The fifteen tracks celebrate their heritage in all its trance-inducing, hip-shaking, majesty, mystery, and magic.

“Imidiwan Afrik Temdam” (mp3)
from “Imidiwan : Companions”
(Outside Music)

Need more!