17 August 2013

Tinariwen - Imidiwan

Some music you stumble across by accident - about 4 years I was purchasing a magazine to read whilst waiting for people, it was Moro and it had a CD based on the new wave of music coming out of the Africa.  One of the tracks was by a band from Northern Mali, based in the Sahara desert called Tinariwen.  Formed in 1979 Tinariwen started to get notice outside of North Africa in 2001 and hit the big time figuratively with the 2007 release 'Aman Iman'.  Imidiwan is the follow up and was recorded is various caves and homemade studios in the desert to give the songs the unique flavour of the environment and what the band knows.  Quite ironically the other day Mrs Carter asked me to review something from Africa, so the timing of this is nice.

If your idea of music has to have distortion, electronic dance beats, smooth slick Holly-weird dance routines and Jay-Z; you will have to look elsewhere. This is a peaceful album, as gentle as a stream and hypnotic. It feels rude to not understand what they are singing, but part of me just loves the natural rhythm of this record. It is possibly what happens in every corner of the world when an artist of a different language is found by someone else who loves the music but cannot understand the meaning of the world's behind the beauty.  But this is my fault and something that I will have to sort out.  Their official language is Tuareg from southern Sahara and their latest album has an English translation of their lyrics which reads like love poems to the desert and the world, but alas nothing that I could find for this one.

The music has a blues vibe (a genre that the band did not hear before they started to tour the world) but without the sadness that comes with the American blues.  Maybe a musical connection which has origins in years long gone, who knows to be honest.  I am sure someone will be able to make a link but I am woefully uneducated in the area and would not want to give my two penny worth until I had some more facts.  All I do know is that songs like "Enseqi Ehad Didagh", "Tenhert" (the song I first heard by the band), "Assuf Ag Assuf" and "Lulla" are just beautiful to me.  They just speak to a part of my being which does not need to understand the words; it does not need to do anything but enjoy what is on offer here which is understated, simple as it is complex, beautiful as it is powerful.  This is wonderful, haunting and worth making the effort.

8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

You can purchase from here

You can visit the band's website here

You can listen to the album here on Spotify

Here is a video of Tinariwen love at Mawazine Festival 2013 - as you would expect there are no videos for their songs, but this is a fantastic performance

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