Global column – September 2019

Tinariwen: Amadjar

There is a hazy expansiveness to Tuareg band Tinariwen’s music that recalls the desert setting in which it was created. Fuzzy guitars are rhythmically picked over undulating rhythms and gravelly baritone vocals; it is almost as if you can hear a sand-laden breeze passing between the mics as the band record.

For their ninth album, the nine-piece group took inspiration from that desert breeze as they rehearsed and wrote their music in the Moroccan Sahara en route to recording in Mauritania. The result is an impressionistic record full of references to “becoming the son of gazelles / who grew up in the meanderings of the desert,” on opener Tenere Maloulat, “golden sand glittering in the light of the moon” on Amalouna, and “the burning sun, sparks spouting from its entrails” on Zawal. It is an imaginative music that places the listener entirely within the nomadic Tinariwen universe, regardless of where you are listening.

Read the review in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 06/09/19]