The Tuareg-Berber band Tinariwen from northern Mali is one of the most popular bands to have emerged from the desert regions of West Africa. After gaining recognition from their performances at the Festival of the Desert in 2001 in Mali, the band started to perform in Europe and North Africa to great acclaim. After a stunning recording debut with The Radio Tisdas Sessions, the band has gone on to release a further four popular albums, the latest of which, Tassili (Anti, 2011), won a Grammy award for Best World Music Album last year, and reached the World Beat desk this week.
Tassili , the latest album by ‘Desert Bluesmen’ Tinariwen.
Tinariwen's success has been built on the hypnotic electric guitar-based sound, known locally as "assouf", that so thrills live audiences. The band also has the kind of rock 'n' roll resume that many Western bands would swap their plectrums for: Former armed Tamashek rebels who lived in Algeria in exile until the '90s and then swapped their guns for guitars. The late Ali Farka Toure, a master of northern Malian music, once told me that the blues and much Western rock have some of their roots in the music of the Tamashek people.
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