Monday, April 7, 2008


The birth of the group Tinariwen in 1982 was intimately linked to exile and the consequent social upheaval experienced by the Touaregs. All the members of Tinariwen are natives of the Adrar of Iforas region in northeastern Mali. During the 1970s they sought refuge from drought and conflict in the southern Algerian town of Tamanrasset. Their lyrics call for the awakening of the politics of conscience and tackle the problems of exile, repression and territorial sovereignty. Arising from this painful period of exile, the group first took the name Taghreft Tinariwen which means ‘the enlightenment of the nation’ in Tamashek, the Touareg language. The original members slowly consolidated into a fully fledged group and added female backing vocalists to enhance their musical expression. Tinariwen performed in all kinds of settings….marriages, baptisms, gatherings and traditional feasts at encampments deep in the desert.

Members of Tinariwen met Lo’Jo, the French group from Angers, in the Malian capital Bamako in 1997. These meetings lead to the first Festival in the Desert, which took place in January 2001 near the village of Tin Essako in the far northeastern corner of Mali, deep in the southern Sahara desert. In the weeks leading up to the festival Tinariwen recorded a set of songs in the studio of the Tamashek speaking Radio Tisdas in Kidal, the capital of northeastern Mali. The sessions were produced by English guitarist Justin Adams, now a member of the Robert Plant band, and Jean-Paul Romann, Lo’Jo’s sound engineer. Apart from the regular Tinariwen line-up (see below), the recordings also featured contributions from the legendary Kheddou and the poet guitarist Japonnais, key figures in the group’s history. ‘The Radio Tisdas Sessions’ CD was released on Wayward Records at the end of 2001 and with hardly any promotion went on to sell well in the UK and USA. Tinariwen then came over to Europe to tour extensively in 2001 and 2002, performing at the WOMAD and Roskilde Festivals and many other venues. In April 2003 they laid down the raw tracks for their forthcoming album ‘Amassakoul’ which is due out in Jan / Feb 2004 on Emma Productions in France, and different labels around the world.

The music of Tinariwen

Tinariwen are the creators of a new and contemporary style of Touareg music. This style is often simply referred to as ‘guitar’, because the instrument symbolizes the modernity of the group’s approach. Another name given to their style is Tishoumaren, or ‘of the ‘ishoumar’. It has played a determining role in the growing cultural awareness of the Touareg youth. The songs themselves are living, imaginative and often profoundly real evocations of the identity of the modern Touareg people. Exile and resistance were originally the major themes of the ishoumars but as time passed Tinariwen and their songs have expressed the wider struggles of daily life in the Tamashek speaking countries. Theirs is a song of love born in a time of conflict.


Anonymous said...

Too bad the band won't get any money from the "shared" audio files you've linked to...


All these years ,the file sharing increases the sale of such bands' cds.This is a general acceptable fact..When something is good ,and when the people have money,they buy
such cds.

Renegade Eye said...

Al Farke Toure was the greatest from Mali. He proved to me blues came from Africa, under Islamic influence.


Sharing these files is a way for the people, who don't have money to buy
original cd ,to listen to good music.
It is also a free way for the bands
to promote their music to others who will buy their cd finally.


I have planned to make a post for
Al Farke Toure,and for many others from the "Dark Contigent".
It seems that the origins of many musical styles came from there ,under
Islamic influence (Sufi) or not.


Where Is Zimbabwe Going?
If you want a brief political analysis join renegade eye blog.

Renegade Eye said...

Zimbabwe is going either in the direction of dictatorship or neoliberalism. Not a good choice.

jp said...

thanks mate.

CHRIS I. G. said...


Denis said...

I don't want to engage a long discussion, but blues is not really born in Africa. Many musicologist have confirmed that.

In Africa, the music player is the griot: ONE OF the most important roles of the griot, which is even more crucial today than in the past is their ability to use historical knowledge, to pass non written history. The griot is well regarded, important, has a social status.

The real blues, which is a son of african music, is born in the mississipi delta, out of the slavery, the bad condition, Lynching , Violence in the United States against African Americans, especially in the South.
As you can see, there is a very different context to both music.

There is many good book on the subject: read: The land where the blues came from, from Alan Lomax. (he refers to the Delta region).

many thanks

Anonymous said...

The only reason the first commenter arrived at this blog was because he was searching for some free music anyway...