A gurgle, a sigh, a breath and the aching scorched-earthed voice of Tinariwen's assigned leader, Ibrahim,"Abaraybone," breaks into voice. Following him come a seething, organic mass, chants and calls, spurred on by guitars that split flame, this is the music, these are the roots from which we came. This is the desert.
Tinariwen are the blues, they are the soul, they are Zeppelin before Zeppelin. We love this relentless, pulsating record because it reminds us what we once were as a species: a society, fraught rebel musicians.
Take this record as one whole but if I was pushed I'd say my favourite tracks are,"Matadjem Yinmixan,"so bouncy and spirited you just never want it to end and the incredibly earthy-sounding,"Ahimana." As is so often the case with world music releases these days the liner notes are absolutely impeccable, offering a transcript and an explanation of the songs in English. Producer Justin Adams also gives a candid account of how he literally stumbled upon the band in December 2000: the rest is history. It is perhaps worth noting when you listen to this that Tinariwen have been around for seventeen years, many of their recordings as yet unable on CD. I for one have only very recently jumped on the bandwagon. I won't be getting off.