The most famous of the Tuareg desert blues bands, Tinariwen, made their new album during a road trip from southern Morocco to Nuakchot in Mauritania. The project started after Tinariwen’s October 2018 performance at the Taragalte Festival of nomadic cultures in the Moroccan Sahara. Tinariwen traveled with their French production team, who drove an old camper van that has been turned into a provisional mobile studio.
The road trip along Africa’s Atlantic coast took about 12 days. The Malian band and crew crossed southern Morocco, the Western Sahara and ended up in Nuakchott, the capital of Mauritania. Throughout the journey, the caravan stopped to set up camp. Tinariwen’s musicians made preparations for the recording and rehearsed their songs.
Once in Nuakchott, Tinariwen spent two weeks recording with celebrated Mauritanian musician Noura Mint Seymali and her guitarist husband, Jeiche Ould Chigaly. The recordings were made under a large tent, with a small number of live takes, devoid of headphones or effects.
Amadjar showcases Tinariwen’s characteristic style: slow paced, dreamy songs featuring creative bluesy electric guitar lines and call and response vocals, enriched with violin, Noura Mint Seymali’s traditional ardin harp, handclapping rhythms and percussion.
Amadjar is a well-constructed, deeply mesmerizing album by one of the finest bands out of Mali.
Acclaimed Moroccan event Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music
Festival 2019 will take place June 20-23. The festival is held in Essawira, on Morocco’s
The festival will feature Gnawa music masters (maâlems) along with Cuban music, Tuareg grooves, Tamil sounds, jazz, flamenco, and reggae.
The lineup includes Osain del Monte (Cuba), Tuareg act Tinariwen (Mali), flamenco artists Maria del Mar Moreno and Jorge Pardo (Spain), Amazigh group Imdiazen, Congolese musician Baloji, and Tamil-British singer Susheela Raman.
The event also includes rising talent such as young maâlem
Houssam Gania, Moh! Kouyaté, and Betweenatna.
Tinariwen (originally Taghreft Tinariwen, or “edification of the lands”) became known for vocalizing the political plight of endangered nomads. Their music spoke to the Tuareg or Kel Tamashek, appealing for a political awakening of consciousness.
For a century, the tribes of the southern Sahara searched the barren landscape for every weapon available to maintain hope in the midst of ethnic cleansing and public executions. With the dawn of the 21st Century, the Kel Tamashek turned to the global circuit. Musicians are the modern warriors. And lyrics have changed to focus on suffering, love, and hope. A Tinariwen song claims, “If I could sing so that those in London could hear, then the whole world would hear my song.”
Although Tinariwen formed in 1982, they remained underground (Mali and Algeria banned the political lyrics) until the group moved to the Malian capital of Bamako in 1999. There, the ten members drew on a rebel rock sensibility, openly playing their passionate, trance-like Desert Blues. During the first eclipse (and first full moon) of the millennium, Tinariwen performed at The Festival in the Desert. Staged near the ancient ruins of Tamaradant, remote and distant from any visible life, the Festival was an effort to further goals of reconciliation, development, and international awareness.
Reporter Andy Morgan asserted that Tinariwen’s soulful music produced a magical effect on the crowd, causing “the young Tuaregs to stamp and dance with abandon in front of the stage. These men were heroes and mentors.” The ten band members are indeed the pride of the Tuareg people. Experiences in battle have created many legends. Kheddou is said to have received 17 bullet wounds after leading several raids, armed only with a guitar on his back and a Kalashnikov in his hands. Once, he was doused in gasoline, owing his life to a faulty lighter.
After witnessing his father’s murder at the hands of Malian soldiers, a drought forced Ibrahim to join a training camp in southern Libya, where Ghadaffi made promises to help the Tamashek cause. In between classes about revolution, Islamism, and guerrilla warfare, Ibrahim smoked cigarettes and played music with Hassan and Intayedan (who has since passed away). Upon hearing the music of Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and Moroccan music for the first time, they discarded traditional instruments like the shepherd flute and tinde drum in favor of the electric guitar, bass, and drums. However, they continued the tradition of Assak, or the traditional male skills of poetic composition, and choral call-and-response. Soon they became musical revolutionaries, creating a new style of music called Tishoumaren, or simply guitar.
The songs of Tinariwen are petitions for political and cultural self-determination. They have become a point of identity for Tuareg youth. In a land void of laptops and TVs, cheap cassette recordings spread hope and resolve. Sick of the suffering caused by armed rebellion, the music of bands like Tinariwen is the new weapon of choice.
Elwan (The Elephants), is Tinariwen’s seventh album, recorded in the rocky desert near M’Hamid, a small town in southern Morocco, located in the Draa valley in the Zagora area. The area was chosen because their home town in northern Mali proved too unstable and dangerous due to renewed conflict. It is also a place of significant cultural importance to the Tuareg-Berber people, the location where all the caravans would stop before making the long journey to Timbuktu.
The 2019 album Amadjar was recorded in Mauritania with Noura Mint Seymali and her husband, Jeiche Ould Chigaly.
Last evening, the Recording Academy announced the recordings nominated for Best World Music Album. This category includes albums containing at least 51% playing time of new vocal or instrumental world music recordings.
The GRAMMY Awards will be presented on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, live from Madison Square Garden in New York City and broadcast on the CBS Television Network from 7:30 – 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time / 4:30 – 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time.
Malian desert blues band Tinariwen has released a video advance of ‘Sastanàqqàm,’ the first single from the band’s upcoming new album, Elwan, scheduled for release released on February 10th 2017 on Wedge.
In 2014, Tinariwen stopped at Rancho de la Luna studios in the desert of California’s Joshua Tree National Park. Guitarist Matt Sweeny, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kurt Vile, musician and vocalist Alan Johannes recorded sessions with the Malian band, engineered by Andrew Schepps, who has worked with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Johnny Cash, and Jay Z.
Two years later in M’Hamid El Ghizlane, an oasis in southern Morocco, near the Algerian frontier, Tinariwen set up their tents to record, accompanied by the local musical youth and a Ganga ensemble of Gnawa musicians.
With proceeds going to the British Red Cross UK Refugee Support Service and with help from the Arts Council England, producer Ethan Johns, engineer Dom Monks and executive producer James Gaster, The Long Road is musical eye-opener to the present refugee and asylum seeker across the globe.
Singer, former Led Zeppelin front man and The Long Road contributor, Robert Plant says, “We have a worldwide international catastrophe – talking about it is one thing, doing something about it is another. The position we are in, it’s paramount we all do our best one way or another to help.”
With just five short tracks, most of the artists compiled for The Long Road have skin in the game from the desert blues group Tinariwen and their founder Ibrahim Ag Alhabib at one time a child refugee himself to the Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars who made it a practice to support refugees during the civil war in Sierra Leone to artist and producer Adam Bainbridge who once worked as a Red Cross refugee services volunteer.
As a refugee or a witness to the hardship and devastation refugees and asylum seekers face or simply a person of conscience, The Long Road is all about lending a helping hand through music.
Producer Ethan John says of the project, “I wanted to get involved because I thought this was a story worth telling. This is a very special opportunity to create an album with a narrative that helps more people understand the realities of being a refugee and the journeys that people go through.”
Opening the familiar strains of the desert blues, Tinariwen takes on “Ker Algahalam Mas Tasossam” or “Why Is the World Silent?”
The Long Road turns spare and poetically potent with “Who Are You?” with the beat poet Scroobius Pip and the soulful vocals of Congolese Didier Kisala.
Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars ramps up the goodness with the brightly reggae tinged “World Peace,” before giving way to the darkly delicious “The Blanket of Night” offered up by Robert Plant.
Kindness closes The Long Road with the story of a Syrian refugee Ayman on “A Retelling.”
We so rarely get the opportunity to be force of change by listening, but The Long Road gives music fans just that opportunity and it would be silly not to take the chance of positive change.
The British Red Cross has released The Long Road, a concept world music album featuring Robert Plant, Scroobius Pip, the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars, Tinariwen and Kindness. The album is based on the real-life experiences of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.
The Long Road album sees features the stories of individuals who have been forced to flee their homes and seek safety in the UK.
“This is a very special opportunity to create an album with a narrative that helps more people understand the realities of being a refugee and the journeys people go through,” said producer Ethan Johns. “Music is one of the oldest forms of storytelling, and these are important stories to be told.”
All earnings will go to funding the British Red Cross’s refugee work in the UK.
Tinariwen returns to Chicago for a concert on Thursday, June 17, 2010, at 6:30 pm, on the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. They are preceded by Turkish musician Omar Faruk Takbilek for a night of Muslim voices and music organized in collaboration with the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN). Admission is free.
Hailing from the Sahara Desert region of Mali, Tinariwen combines traditional Tuareg melodies with blues, rock, Berber, and Arabic influences to create hypnotic, trance-like songs. Many young members, like founder Ibrahim Ag Alhabig, had witnessed violence during the 1963 uprising in Mali and lived a migratory and precarious life in the the Sahara.
Ag Alhabib and his friends started to play music in the late 1970s at parties and weddings in the Tuareg community in southern Algeria. People started to call them “Kel Tinariwen” or “The Desert Boys.”
Ag Alhabib and his bandmates continued to play their music throughout the Sahara region, even as many members participated in the Tuareg rebel movements of the 1980s in Libya and then Mali. After a peace agreement known as the Tamanrasset Accords was reached in January 1991, the musicians left the military and devoted themselves to music full time. In recent years, Tinariwen has gained international attention and played hundreds of concerts in Europe, North America, Japan, and Australia.
They’ve participated in some of the world’s premier rock and world music festivals, including Glastonbury, Coachella, WOMAD, and Printemps de Bourges, and their albums Ammassakoul: The Traveler (2004), Aman Iman: Water Is Life (2007), and Imidiwan: Companions (2009) have established them as one of the most popular and best selling African groups on the planet.
Since 2001, the Tinariwen collective has added several younger Tuareg musicians who did not live through the military conflicts experienced by the older members but have contributed to the collective’s multi-generational evolution. The current touring group includes Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, Hassan Ag Touhami, Abdallah Ag Alhoussenyni, Eyadou Ag Leche, Said Ag Ayad, Elaga Ag Hamid, Abdallah Ag Lamida, and Mohammed Ag Tahada.
Hailing from a different region of the Muslim world, multi-instrumentalist Omar Faruk Tekbilek begins the evening’s musical celebration. Honored as a peacemaker and virtuoso, Tekbilek has established himself as one of the world’s foremost exponents of Middle Eastern music. Tekbilek’s music is rooted in Turkish and Sufi traditions, but has been influence by contemporary sounds.
Tekbilek has collaborated with a number of leading musicians of international repute such as jazz trumpeter Don Cherry, keyboard player Karl Berger, ex-Cream rock drummer Ginger Baker, Ofra Haza, Simon Shaheen, Hossam Ramzy, Glen Velez, Bill Laswell, Mike Mainieri, Peter Erskine, Trilok Gurtu, Jai Uttal and Steve Shehan among others. He has contributed to numerous film and TV scores and to many recordings including world sacred music albums, and has been touring extensively throughout the Middle East, Europe, Australia, North and South America.
The June 17 concert is presented with IMAN (Inner-City Muslim Action Network) and the 2010 Takin’ it to the Streets Festival in Marquette Park on Saturday, June 19. The urban international festival is a Muslim-led festival where artistic expression, spirituality, and urban creativity inspire social change. The concert is supported by contributions from The Chicago Community Trust.
Millennium Park is located in the heart of downtown Chicago. It is bordered by Michigan Ave. to the west, Columbus Dr. to the east, Randolph St. to the north and Monroe St. to the south. Convenient parking is located in the Millennium Park Garage (entrance on Columbus at Monroe or Randolph) and at the Grant Park North and East Monroe Garages, all located within a short walking distance of Millennium Park.