Tinariwen – Iswegh Attay

Tinariwen is not one of my favorite “world music” bands, they’re one of my favorite bands, period. They play an interesting version of guitar-based music which many view as a continuation of the Frican music that originally gave rise to the Blues when brought to America. They’re a group of Tuareg musicians from northern Mali, founded in the late 1970s by Ibrahim Ag Alhabib. He was a rebel fighter in Mali, was forced to flee to Libya, was trained by Gaddaffi in the early 80s, and fought in a Tuareg uprising in Libya in 1985. Throughout these experiences, he began playing music with other rebels, singing about issues facing the Tuareg people. They had a policy that if someone brought them a blank cassette tape, they would record an album for them for free. These tapes were widely circulated throughout the Sahara region. They returned to Mali in 1989, and have gradually gained more international recognition since then, although their troubles have not entirely ceased. In 2012, a member was arrested by Islamic militant group Ansar Dine when trying to save his guitars as the other band members fled. According to the band, he has been released. This song is from their 2011 album Tassili, recorded in the Tassili n’Ajjer National Park in Algeria, which you can see in the video. The video also shows a very cool tea-making process performed by one of the band members. Ag Alhabib is the guy with the long curly hair (who reminds me of Chief Keef for some reason, although I feel absolutely horrible saying that.)

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