Saturday, May 29, 2010


Lloyd Gedye on Tinariwen and the future of Tuareg Rock.
When this band of former rebel warriors laid down their guns to pick up guitars they placed the Tuareg people on the cultural map, bringing some much-needed awareness to the plight of the nomadic people's difficult existence in the Sahara desert.

Although they regularly play shows across Europe and the United States, their music has also been promoted by mainstream media, raising the profile of the Tuareg's first rock stars.

Influential British music magazine Uncut recently awarded Tinariwen its Uncut Music Award for their 2009 album Imidiwan. The band returned to the desert with a makeshift studio set-up to record an earthier collection of songs for Imidiwan, after the experimentation of 2007's Aman Iman and 2004's Amassakoul, which saw the band incorporating some Western influences into their music.

So while Tinariwen return to their roots, their music has inspired a new generation of Tuareg rockers who are hell-bent on carrying their legacy forward. The most exciting of these young groups is Tamikrest, which translated from Tamasheq means junction, connection, knot or coalition -- a fitting name for the seven-piece band whose members hail from Mali, Niger and Algeria.
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