Tinariwen are a Tuareg band from the North Western Sahara and if you are wondering where that is exactly – see the map below. This is their sixth album and the first recorded outside of their Sahara homeland due to war in Northern Mali.
This from Wikipedia:
” Tinariwen was founded by Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, who at age four witnessed the execution of his father (a Tuareg rebel) during a 1963 uprising in Mali. As a child he saw a western film in which a cowboy played a guitar. Ag Alhabib built his own guitar out of a tin can, a stick and bicycle brake wire.
This is a band that has seen war as rebel fighters, as members of militias, kidnappings, death, exile and the horror of execution of family. In this sombre African blues there is real life and all its tragedies. Rather than re write their history I suggest you go here to read about them, it’s a fascinating story.
Known as Assouf music with the Tuareg people, the influence of Marley, Led Zeppelin, Santana and other large western bands found their way to the people of the Sahara and this mixed with traditional music has spawned Tinariwen. (Originally Kel Tianariwen, The People of the Deserts or The Desert Boys). Even though there’s a bluesy sound and feel through the African rhythms, the band claims not to have known western blues music till they heard about it after the band was formed and as they travelled to the west.
This is a fascinating World Music exchanging machine guns for guitars in a region that is never too far from conflict.