Tinariwen, a Tuareg band, performs a guitar-centric Malian branch of music. It is, for the untrained ear at least, reminiscent of Ali Farka Toure, but it is rock-oriented, percussive, and more rock-oriented. The band’s members all hail from the southern Sahara. Their name, which means “empty places”, is a reflection on their homeland. Each musician had to be forced from their nomadic lives into voluntary military service. The rebel camps of Colonel Gaddafi were where the band was formed. Tinariwen, surrounded by their peers from other countries, developed a new style and music. They traded their shepherd’s flutes and traditional lutes for electric guitars, and drums. The result was called “Tishoumaren,” which is “the music for the unemployed”. Their music addressed issues such as political awakening and exile problems, the repression of their people, or demands for sovereignty. Their tapes quickly became a voice for rebellion in a region without a telephone or postal system and a point of rallying support for the disenfranchised. Although banned in Mali and Algeria, the 2001 and 2004 Radio Tisdas Sessions are still available for Western audiences. They recorded their third album Aman Iman: Water Is Life in 2006. It was released by Harmonia Mundi’s World Village imprint in 2007. Justin Adams produced the album, which featured Mohammed Ag Itlale’s voice and guitar. Tinariwen traveled the globe for the first time after the album’s release. The album was followed by Imidiwan: Companions. This two-disc set contained one disc of music as well as a documentary on Tinariwen’s life. The world tour, which included many festival appearances in Europe and the United States, was again followed. Tinariwen signed to America‚Äôs Anti imprint, in 2010. They were encouraged to try new things by the label. Tassili was released in 2011. It features a fully acoustic set recorded in a protected area of the Southeastern Algerian Desert. The tapes were then flown to America, where Nels Cline, guitarist, overdubbed electric guitars. New Orleans’ Dirty Dozen Brass Band also added horns. Tassili is a true international collaboration. Allmusic

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