Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Interview with Tinariwen

Hailing from the Touareg people, Tinariwen play the ‘music of the unemployed’. They spoke to Kevin Devine about their Aman Iman album

You have dedicated Aman Iman to “Peace, tolerance and development in the Sahara and the world of the oppressed.” These are powerful sentiments and I can guess where they’ve come from, but why did you choose this particular dedication?

I think it’s important for us to make it clear that the Tinariwen story isn’t just some exotic epic that happened in some obscure corner of the Sahara desert, and that is without any relevance to the wider world.

What happened to us has happened to millions of people around the world, and is still happening.

Our songs are about the Touareg, and our home in the desert. But we’d also like to think that anyone who’s in exile, who’s fighting for independence, for the survival of their people, their culture and their language, can relate to the songs too.

But having said that, we also believe in peace, tolerance and development. The rebellion we fought in the early 1990s was very painful and very brutal, especially in its effect on the civilian population.

War of any kind must always be engaged as a last resort, in self-defence. In those circumstances, no doubt the members of Tinariwen would fight again but in the meantime we place our faith and our hope in peace, tolerance and developement.
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