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    Some people have commented that Tinariwen have always been a country band, albeit a North African take on that most North American of genres. That idea is magnified on new album Amatssou, which finds the Tuareg band’s trademark snaking guitar lines and hypnotic rhythms blending seamlessly with pedal steel, piano and strings from guest musicians including Daniel Lanois, the embellished arrangements lending the songs an epic, universal application.

    Full of poetic allegory, the lyrics call for unity and freedom. There are songs of struggle and resistance with oblique references to the recent desperate political upheavals in Mali and the increasing power of the Salafists. “Dear brothers all rest, all leisure will always be far from reach unless your homeland is liberated and all the elders can live there in dignity,” Ibrahim Ag Alhabib sings on ‘Arajghiyine.’ The album’s title Amatssou is Tamashek for ‘Beyond The Fear’ and it fits - Tinariwen have always been characterised by their fearlessness - and as Bob Dylan once said, the power of rock’n’roll is that it makes us “oblivious to the fear” as the music gives us the strength and resilience to confront adversity.

    In the two decades since Tinariwen emerged from their base in the African desert to tour the globe, they have got to know many renowned country, folk, and rock musicians from the USA including Kurt Vile, Stephen O'Malley, Jack White, and Wilco. Tuareg nomads and cowboy drifters. Camel trains and mustang horses. The timeless horizon of the endless Sahara and the wild frontier of the Old West - several thousand miles of ocean may divide the desert blues of Tinariwen and the authentic country music of rural America but the links are as palpable as they are romantic.


    Vinyl Tracklist:
    A1. Kek Alghalm
    A2. Tenere Den
    A3. Arajghiyine
    A4. Tidjit
    A5. Jayche Atarak
    B1. Imidiwan Mahitinam
    B2. Ezlan
    B3. Anemouhagh
    B4. Iket Adjen
    B5. Nak Idnizdjam

    CD Tracklist:
    1.  Kek Alghalm
    2.  Tenere Den
    3.  Arajghiyine
    4.  Imzad (Interlude)
    5.  Tidjit
    6.  Jayche Atarak
    7.  Imidiwan Mahitinam
    8.  Imzad 2 (Interlude)
    9.  Ezlan
    10.  Anemouhagh
    11.  Iket Adjen
    12.  Nak Idnizdjam
    13.  Tinde (Outro)


    Imidiwan: Companions - 2022 Reissue

      First-ever vinyl reissue of 2009’s Imidiwan: Companions by acclaimed Saharan Tuareg group Tinariwen. Pressed on 180-gram heavyweight vinyl, the album hypnotically blends Malian desert blues with twanging guitar-led Tichumaren agit-prop to create a sound altogether unique.


      Side A
      1 Imidiwan Afrik Tendam
      2 Lulla
      3 Tenhert
      4 Enseqi Ehad Didagh
      5 Tahult In
      6 Tamodjerazt Assis
      7 Intitlayaghen
      Side B
      1 Imazeghen N Adagh
      2 Tenalle Chegret
      3 Kel Tamashek
      4 Assuf Ag Assuf
      5 Chabiba
      6 Ere Tasfata Adounia


      Kel Tinariwen

        A revelatory discovery in the Tinariwen archives, Kel Tinariwen is an early cassette tape recorded in the early 90s that never received a wider release, and sheds new light on the band’s already rich history. Not having yet developed the fuller band sound that they became internationally established with, Kel Tinariwen features their trademark hypnotic guitar lines and call-and-response vocals weaving in between raw drum machine rhythms and keyboard melodies that almost evoke an Arabic take on 80s synth-pop.

        There’s distinct parallels with the sounds found on this tape and the work uncovered in recent years by cratedigger labels such as Awesome Tapes From Africa, Sahel Sounds and Sublime Frequencies. Kel Tinariwen features songs from Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni, Hassan Ag Touhami aka ‘Abin Abin’, Kedou Ag Ossad, Liya Ag Ablil aka ‘Diarra’ and Keltoum Sennhauser.


        1. À L’Histoire
        2. Mas Azalene Wi Amoutenene
        3. Adounia Tarha
        4. Matadjem Yinmexan
        5. Amoud Falas Aljalat
        6. Ayat Sendad Eghlalane
        7. Tenidagh Hegh Dejredjere
        8. Arghane Manine


        Aman Iman: Water Is Life - 2022 Reissue

          First-ever vinyl reissue of critically acclaimed Saharan Tuareg group Tinariwen’s third album, Aman Iman: Water Is Life. Released internationally via Independiente in 2007, reissued here on 180-gram heavyweight vinyl, the album was produced by long-time associate Justin Adams and features the voice and guitar of founding member Mohammed Ag Itlale. The GRAMMY Award winning collective perform a guitar-centric branch of Malian music known as Tishoumaren a percussive, rock-oriented desert blues.


          Side A
          1 Cler Achel
          2 Mano Dayak
          3 Matadjem Yinmixan
          Side B
          1 Ahimana
          2 Soixante Trois
          3 Toumast
          Side C
          1 Imidiwan WinakaliN
          2 Awa Didjen
          3 Ikyadarh Dim
          Side D
          1 Tamatant Tilay
          2 Assouf
          3 Izarharh Tenere


          The Radio Tisdas Sessions - 2022 Remastered Edition

            The 20th Anniversary edition of Tinariwen’s first studio album The Radio Tisdas Sessions has been remastered and repackaged with a bonus unreleased bonus track, exclusive photos and brand-new liner notes.

            The Radio Tisdas Sessions feature songs from Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, Kedou Ag Ossad, Mohamed Ag Itlal aka ‘Japonais' who passed away on February 14th 2021, and Foy Foy.

            Tinariwen are Tuaregs, children of a nomadic Berber tribe who have roamed the Saharan desert for thousands of years. Over recent centuries, colonialism has seen the Tuareg’s ancestral territory partitioned into distinct countries - Mali, Algeria, Libya, Niger. This drawing of borders has turned the Tuareg into ishumar, a displaced people in search of a homeland lost to them. Tinariwen’s music – a blend of West African traditional music and electrified rock’n’roll – speaks directly to this feeling of longing: a sound that critics have called “desert blues”.

            TRACK LISTING

            Side A
            A1 Le Chant Des Fauves
            A2 Nar Djenetbouba

            Side B
            B1 Imidiwaren
            B2 Zin Es Gourmeden

            Side C
            C1 Afours Afours (5:27)
            C2 Tessalit (3:58)
            C3 Kedou Kedou (6:13)

            Side D
            D1 Mataraden Anexan
            D2 Bismillah
            D3 Tessalit - Live At Festival Au Desert - Tin-essako
            D4 Ham Tinahghin Ane Yallah (Bonus Unreleased)


            Amassakoul - 2022 Remastered Edition

              Tinariwen’s breakthrough album originally released in 2004, now remastered and repackaged with a bonus unreleased track, exclusive photos and brand-new liner notes.  Amassakoul features songs from Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni, Touhami Ag Alhassane.

              Tinariwen are Tuaregs, children of a nomadic Berber tribe who have roamed the Saharan desert for thousands of years. Over recent centuries, colonialism has seen the Tuareg’s ancestral territory partitioned into distinct countries - Mali, Algeria, Libya, Niger. This drawing of borders has turned the Tuareg into ishumar, a displaced people in search of a homeland lost to them. Tinariwen’s music – a blend of West African traditional music and electrified rock’n’roll – speaks directly to this feeling of longing: a sound that critics have called “desert blues”.

              TRACK LISTING

              Side A
              A1 Amassakoul’n’ténéré
              A2 Oualahila Ar Tesninam
              A3 Chatma

              Side B
              B1 Arawan
              B2 Chet Boghassa
              B3 Amidinin

              Side C
              C1 Ténéré Daféo Nikchan
              C2 Aldhechen Manin
              C3 Alkhar Dessouf

              Side D
              D1 Eh Massina Sintadoben
              D2 Assoul
              D3 Taskiwt Tadjat (Bonus Track Unreleased)

              The best Tinariwen album hasn’t been recorded yet. Perhaps it never will be. Because the best Tinariwen music isn’t the music they perform in front of microphones. It’s the music they play at night around the fire, back in their own country, amongst themselves and at their own pace. Having eaten, and drunk their tea, the men bring out their guitars, chat, remember old songs and let the music come. In those moments, the music can become like the fire, free, magical and impossible to stuff into a box. It rises up like a shower of sparks or a state of grace, without premeditation; the momentary manifestation of a friendship, a community, an environment, a history; the revelatory connection with something that belongs only to them, and goes beyond them. Their discography stretching out over the last 17 years, all the tours and the international recognition have changed nothing: Tinariwen are still a desert band, only certain aspects of which the western music industry can ever hope to capture and present. Tinariwen existed long before any of their albums were recorded, and they still exist quite distinct from their discographic dimension. So, the best Tinariwen album doesn’t exist. But it’s still worth trying to go and find it.

              The story of Amadjar, the ninth Tinariwen album, begins at the end of October 2018, at the Taragalte Festival of nomadic cultures in the Moroccan Sahara. After a concert and a sandstorm, Tinariwen hit the road and head for Mauritania, via southern Morocco, Western Sahara and the Atlantic coast. The destination is important (the band have to set up and record their album there, and hook up with the singer Noura Mint Seymali), but no more so than the journey itself. Tinariwen are joined by their French production team, who arrive in old camper van that’s been converted into a makeshift studio. The journey to Nouakchott, capital of Mauritania, takes a dozen days or so. Every evening, the caravan stops to set up camp and the members of Tinariwen get to work under the stars – a whole lot better than being in a studio after all – to prepare for the recording, talking things through, letting their guitar motifs, thoughts and long buried songs come. Then, during a final camp in the desert around Nouakchott that lasts about fifteen days, to an audience of scorpions, the band record their songs under large tent. In a few live takes, without headphones or effects. The Mauritanian griotte Noura Mint Seymali and her guitarist husband, Jeiche Ould Chigaly, come to throw their musical tradition on the embers lit by Tinariwen – the curling vocals of Noura Mint Seymali on the song ‘Amalouna’ will become a highlight.

              This nomadic album, recorded in a natural setting, is as close as you can get to Tinariwen. And also, therefore, to the idea that things can evolve: bassist Eyadou plays a lot of acoustic guitar; percussionist Said tries his hand at new instruments; Abdallah exhumes songs that he’s never played on stage with Tinariwen. And that violin that appears on several songs and reminds you of the traditional imzad? It’s actually played by Warren Ellis. The violinist in Nick Cave’s band is one of several western guests on the album. We also hear the mandolin and charango of Micah Nelson (son of the country music giant Willie Nelson, and Neil Young’s guitarist), and the guitars of Stephen O’Malley (Sunn O)))), Cass McCombs and Rodolphe Burger. The album is mixed by Jack White’s buddy Joshua Vance Smith.

              In the end, Amadjar tells the story of several journeys: the one undertaken to prepare the album, and the one that Tinariwen take between two worlds, theirs and ours, with that constant need to pass from one to the other before coming back to the roots. “I’m in a complete solitude, where thoughts frighten me, and lost in their midst I arose and noticed that I was thirsty and wanted water,” sings Ibrahim on ‘Ténéré Maloulat’, the first song on the album. A return to the source of Tamashek poetry. In the middle of other more political songs, through always desolate, these words express deep distress and survival, but also movement. Amadjar means ‘the unknown visitor’ in Tamashek, the one who seeks hospitality and who’s condemned to an inner exile, within a territory or within himself; just like the members of Tinariwen, who feel at home on the journey, around the fire with a few immutable songs. The best Tinariwen album will never be. But Amadjar is more essential than all the others. 

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Patrick says: Desert rock superstars Tinariwen's ninth LP is the closest the tuareg troop have come to capturing their live sound in the studio, largely because "Amadjar" was conceived, composed and recorded across a trail of temporary studios during a North African road trip.

              TRACK LISTING

              1 Tenere Maloulat
              2 Zawal
              3 Amalouna
              4 Taqkal Tarha
              5 Anina
              6 Madjam Mahilkamen
              7 Takount
              8 Iklam Dglour
              9 Kel Tinawen
              10 Itous Ohar
              11 Mhadjar Yassouf Idjan
              12 Wartilla
              13 Lalla


              Live In Paris, Oukis N'Asuf

                ’Live In Paris, Oukis N’Asuf’ was recorded at a very special concert at the Bouffes du Nord in Paris on Saturday 13th December 2014 and features the band performing alongside 75-year-old ‘grand dame’ of Tamashek culture Lalla Badi.

                The album’s title, ‘Oukis N’Asuf’, which, translated literally, means to take away, forget or get over heart-ache and longing. Asuf - the longing of the soul - conjures up the feeling of separation from the Touareg camp, the physical environment of the desert, its emptiness, its blackness, and its spirits.

                A hypnotic evening of guitar and tindé (small mortar drum covered by a taut goatskin) normally reserved for more in intimate spaces - around a fire in the desert in southern Algeria perhaps, or in the yard of a house somewhere in the northern Mali.

                Badi, who remains the queen of tindé (a word that denotes both an instrument played exclusively by women, and a poetic repertoire which is sung at ceremonies and special occasions), is originally from Timiaoune in the far south of the Algerian Sahara and now lives in Tamanrasset.

                She became a mentor to the Touareg in the 1970s, thanks both to her mastery of this musical genre and her commitment to the Touareg cause. Back then she took in the ishumars (unemployed vagrants), those Touareg who had set off to Libya in search of a better life.

                Like them, the future members of Tinariwen also fled repression and the crippling droughts of northern Mali in those dark years, stopping off in Algeria along the way. Lalla Badi took them under her wing, became like a mother to them, a big sister, an accomplice and the performance in Paris, her first show in France in over thirty years, gave Tinarwen the opportunity to show their respect and gratitude.



                  Hugely celebrated and acclaimed, Tinariwen released their debut album, ‘The Radio Tisdas Sessions’ in 2001, and over the past decade they have continually toured the world, picking up some of the most respected music awards, including a BBC Award for World Music in 2005, the prestigious Praetorius Music Prize in Germany in 2008, the Uncut Music Award in 2009 for ‘Imidiwan: Companions’ and, most recently, a Grammy for their 2011 album ‘Tassili’.

                  ‘Emmaar’ was recorded in the Joshua Tree desert, California, due to political instability in their country - the first time the band have recorded away from their homeland. “It still had to be recorded in a desert,” says bassist Eyadou Ag Leche. “We would like to live in peace in the North of Mali, but this is very difficult, there is no administration, no banks, no food, no gas. Joshua Tree is in the high desert of California, we love all the desert, these are places where we feel good to live and to create.”

                  Recorded over three weeks in a home studio, ‘Emmaar’ has a distinctly organic feel. “We weren’t in a proper studio or outside in the desert like ‘Tassili’,” Ag Leche says. “We built a studio in a big house in Joshua Tree. Everybody in the same room, with no separation. We wanted something which sounded natural and live.”

                  Guests on the album include Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, Matt Sweeney from Chavez, Nashville fiddler Fats Kaplin, and poet Saul Williams.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. Toumast Tincha
                  2. Chaghaybou
                  3. Arhegh Danagh
                  4. Timadrit In Sahara
                  5. Imidiwan Ahi Sigdim
                  6. Tahalamot
                  7. Sendad Eghlalan
                  8. Imidiwanin Ahi Tifhamam
                  9. Koud Edhaz Emin
                  10. Emajer

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