Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Toumast - Ishumar

Robin Denselow reviews Toumast's Ishumar.
Tinariwen may have brought the rhythmic, loping desert blues of northern Mali to an international audience, but they have competition. Moussa Ag Keyna, a former member of Tinariwen, is a guitarist, singer and songwriter who was also a member of the Touareg political movement involved in the revolt against the Malian government in the early 1990s - and was injured in the fighting. In his current band, Toumast, he is joined by a female singer and percussionist Aminatou Goumar, and French and African musicians led by his producer Dan Levy, who adds anything from bass to keyboards and saxophone. The songs sound like a lighter, more western version of Tinariwen, with some fine bursts of blues guitar work and light, insistent percussion, matched by far more gloomy lyrics. Many of the songs look back to the fighting with disillusion and sadness - though there's also a fine, personal and bluesy tribute to My Camel.

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