Release Date: Jun 29, 2009
Record label: Independiente
Genre(s): Rock, World
It’s another Friday night at Manchester Uni. On stage is UK folktronica act Tunng, hawking their Blur-esque single ”Bullets”. So far, so ordinary. But amid the flashing oranges and yellows of the lighting, among the scruffy men and laptops, are three Tuareg warriors, only their eyes showing through their head-dress, jumping up and down and imploring the liquored-up crowd to clap along.
Tinariwen have been one of the great African success stories of recent years, taking their rousing, slinky desert blues from the Sahara to the concert halls of the world. But after the pounding, infectious grooves of the Aman Iman album, released two years ago, it seemed hard to see where they could go next. Now comes a new set that is very different, yet equally impossible to resist.
Travel changes you. It has to. There's no way to experience something outside of the familiar and not be affected, if only in the smallest way. Tinariwen come from a people whose history is travel. The Kel Tamashek (aka the Touareg) have inhabited the vast expanse of the middle Sahara for centuries ….
The Toureg people (kel Tamashek in their own language) are nomads. In the old days they urged their camels through the wild landscape of the Sahel that drapes around the shoulders of northwest Africa, farming a bit, hunting a bit, raising animals, and fighting off the more settled Africans, the Arabs, the French. Today, although some still follow the old ways, many Tamashek shuttle between the urban areas of Mali, Niger, Algeria and Libya.