video from the recording sessions of that album is highly recommended.
More after the jump
"four or five." As he puts it: "Before us, the guitar didn't exist in Touareg music." The group has to import amps from Europe because it is impossible to find any "within fifteen hundred kilometres" of their home. While they have introduced the guitar to the Sahara, they have also introduced the world to the Desert Blues, a genre invented by the band. The Desert Blues or Assouf contains elements of traditional Touareg music along with an electrified Western influence that combined sounds like an almost trance-like, highly rhythmic version of the blues. Many of Tinariwen's songs are about the political struggle of the Touareg, which has lately drawn international attention and concern.
declared, "The important military operations of the National Movement for the
Liberation of Azawad will continue so long as Bamako does not recognise [sic]
this territory as a separate entity." On April 6, the MNLA went ahead and declared the independence of Azawad from Mali without the recognition of Mali, or, for that matter, that of any other country. Nevertheless, it is clear that the Malian government has lost control of Northern Mali, an area now being fought over by Touaregs and various Islamist groups. Northern Mali/Azawad is also a hotbed for international arms dealers and drug smugglers. Jihadists from Afghanistan and Pakistan have reportedly moved into the area to train militant groups. The situation is so tense in Mali that the interim President, Dioncounda Traore was beaten unconscious by protesters, who may have been allowed into his office by the military. Since June, the MNLA has been engaged in a series of battles with Ansar Dine, an Islamist organization with ties to al Qaeda. Ansar Dine has gained the upper hand in the conflict, and now controls the cities of Northern Mali where it has imposed sharia law. Negotiations have recently begun between Ansar Dine, the MNLA and the Malian government, but the situation remains precarious.
Two days ago, Tinariwen left this status on Facebook: "We are all safe back home in Mali, Assouf Ag Assouf...."Just like the conflict itself, there is no way to exactly predict what Tinariwen will do next. In an interview with Afropop Worldwide, bandmember Abdallah Ag Alhousseini said, "As artists, how we will view [the current conflict], maybe it takes some time. Maybe
it will be after a year, maybe more. Because a true artist is never tied
to events. Sometimes he sees things 10 years, three years, four years
in advance. He sings about an event before the event even happen.
Sometimes the events come, but you hear nothing. Because the artist
spoke about these events years ago. So we don’t just look at what’s
happening today, and sing about that." Another bandmember, Eyadou Ag Leche told Tamazgha that for their next album, "nous travaillerons dessus dans le désert américain" [We'll be working in the American desert]. It's hard to be optimistic about the situation in Northern Mali/Azawad, but the idea of Tinariwen working on a new album somewhere in the American desert that may or may not comment on the war gives hope for exciting new music in our future. Regardless of politics, few groups make music as beautiful and powerful as Tinariwen.