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Tinariwen take us deep into the desert night

Tinariwen are today’s Triple Bookend! Tuareg musicians par excellence – they take us on a transcendental trip deep into the Western Saharan desert night. And what a trip it is. With guesting musicians from the annals of rock history and traditional Mauritanian folk masters. This double LP release that is only a couple of weeks old is a must-have for any record collector. Richard presents 3 tracks of his choice from that release, Amadjar. Released on double 180g premium vinyl in a gatefold sleeve with additional 28pp road trip booklet AND digital download, order here.

As if the sonic landscape created by Tinariwen was not enough Tobin brings us a 52 year old Record Box Classic. Despite the difficulties recording this in the studio it’s a cracking listen. In fact, it acts beautifully as a Record Box Classic. In so much that you’ve not heard it for ages but it sounds brilliant. Go right on ahead and listen, you’ll understand what we are saying.

In addition to this, we have New Music from Ayelle where we all get a bit confused about what she is actually singing about. Crabs? Cycle paths? Eh? Yeah, it’s a real fun listen and you could have heard it 3 weeks ago if you were a patron of the show. Want to get involved? Get some deep personal enlightenment right here. Furthermore Tobin lifts the lid on Caamp’s new LP and Richard adds some cautionary listening advice. It’s a great new release but comes with a caveat.

  1. Zawal Tinariwen
  2. After The Rain Kyson
  3. Tramp Carla Thomas & Otis Redding
  4. Kel Tinawen Tinariwen
  5. Psychopaths Ayelle
  6. Penny, Heads Up Caamp
  7. Madjam Mahilkamen Tinariwen

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Tinariwen – true rock ‘n’ roll rebels

Well right off the bat, friend of the show Will has been in touch with us to tell us his best mate used to work at a record label and worked with Tinariwen at said label! There you are, a personal Listener Recommendation if ever there was one. But there’s more…

Tinariwen (meaning “deserts”) were founded in 1979 in Algeria by Ibrahim Ag Alhabib who aged 4 witnessed the execution of his father. His father was a Tuareg rebel and was killed in a 1963 uprising in Mali. Tinariwen returned to Mali in the 1990s after a ceasefire. Ibrahim Ag Alhabib was influenced by a movie he saw as a young child which featured a cowboy playing a guitar.

Ag Alhabib built his own guitar out of a plastic water can, a stick and some fishing wire

Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni

In the late 70’s Ag Alhabib joined with other members of the rebel Tuareg community. The band began to explore Morroccan folk music and Algerian pop music. They began to fuse this with more western sounds like Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana et al. The music collective used to play at weddings and other social gatherings, and whilst not having an official name people came to know them Kel Tinariwen. This translates in the local Tamashek language as “People of the Desert” or “The Desert Boys”.

The 1980s ushered in a new era for Tinariwen

In 1980 Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi issued a cry to Tuareg people living illegally in Libya to receive nine months military training. His idea was to have an elite fighting force honed from the tough Tuareg people to patrol Western Sahara and assist in his campaigns in Chad and Niger. Ag Alhabib and other band members heeded the call. They did so with a similar call in 1985, this time by Tuareg rebel leaders in Libya. This is where many of the musicians met and formed Tinariwen. The idea was to create songs about the struggles Tuareg people faced.

They built a makeshift studio and vowed to record music for free for anyone who supplied a blank audio cassette. The resulting cassettes were traded widely throughout the region of the Sahara. In 1989 the band left Libya, returning to Mali. Ag Alhabib returned to his home village for the first time in 26 years.

Rock ‘n’ roll rebels whose rebellion, for once, wasn’t just metaphorical

Slate magazine

In 1990 the Tuareg people revolted against the government. Members of Tinariwen acted as rebel fighters and soon a peace treaty was forced in the January of 1991. It was finally time for Tinariwen to leave military service and start focussing on music full time. Since 2001 new Tuareg musicians have joined Tinariwen who did not live through the military conflicts contributing to the bands multi-generational evolution.

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