Sunday, January 17, 2010

African Music Exploration: Tinariwen

Tinariwen are a band hailing from Northern Mali, and belong to an ethic group known as the Tuareg people, a nomadic group that lives in the Sahara Desert. They've been going since 1979, but really started to gain attention worldwide in the past decade. They have a very bluesy sounding guitar style, but apparently "the Tinariwen guitar style was actually born in relative isolation and has its roots in the rich musical heartlands of West Africa, specifically along the great 'bend' of the Niger river, between Timbuktu and Gao." At any rate, their sound is a great fusion of that African blues guitar and a very native African sound. The vocals are presumably in Tamajaq, the Tuareg language. For your sampling pleasure, I present two tracks from their 2009 album, Imidiwan. "Lulla" has a very tribal sound, and a very celebratory mood, with some call and response chorus vocals and background shouts. There is a great guitar groove that is present in a lot of their music really driving the song forward. "Chegret" takes that same groove, but slows it down into a minor key dirge that shuffles along. Another highly recommended track from the album is "Tenhert", which shows off their bluesy side.
Lulla - Tinariwen
Chegret - Tinariwen

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