Release Date: Apr 29, 2016
Record label: City Slang
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, International
The Western world has long romanticised indigenous culture and traditional attire is a big part of that. It represents a society as bounded, unchanging, traditional, and 'authentic'. Environmental campaigners have always used these images as a political tool – a socially constructed representation that cannot be held to constitute the complete reality.
The desert blues revolution initiated by Tinariwen continues with this young band from southern Algeria. The groups share a similar sound – and Imarhan’s leader, Sadam, has a cousin in the elder band – but Imarhan are a more eclectic proposition. There’s a funky edge to tracks like Tahabort and the title cut, the latter also showing a willingness to explore echo-heavy psych atmospheres.
It’s been nearly two decades since nomadic Tuareg musicians Tinariwen first lurched forth from the Sahara Desert and started charming Western audiences with their hypnotic mix of electric blues riffs, tribal rhythms and droning ancient chants. They sang rebel songs about their exile from Mali and told of bloody guerrilla wars, yet somehow ended up jamming with Carlos Santana, winning Grammy Awards and opening for the Rolling Stones. Their protégés Imarhan now lead a new generation of Tuaregs with a slightly different experience and perspective of the world.