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VINE VOICEon 11 June 2007
Tinariwen are a Toureg band who play highly atmospheric and hypnotic guitar-driven 'desert blues'. They've rightly received huge critical acclaim, not least from Andy Kershaw, who knows more about World Music than pretty much anyone else as far as i can see.

Recorded in a radio studio during the few hours when they had electricity, this album is less produced than their last two full studio albums, but although at first listen this can make it seem less sparkling, it also gives the album an atmosphere that is more brooding and intense.

I'd thoroughly recommend this for any Tinariwen fans, or anyone wanting to hear a cross-section of this extraordinary band's material performed in a way that is probably the closest any recording has got to how they'd sound if they really were sitting round a campfire.
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VINE VOICEon 17 June 2008
This album was Tinariwen's first, and recorded as best it could be in a studio where the power only came on for a few hours at a time. It may lack the polish of Amassakoul and in particular Amam Iman, but in my view it's every bit as good as those albums. In fact, if you're in a particularly laid-back mood, this is the one to go for, as the album is more quiet and contemplative than some of their other stuff. 'Mataraden Anexan' is an early version of Amam Iman's 'Matdjem Yinmixan', a very popular Tinariwen track. All in all, this album's sound is probably closer to the authentic Tinariwen than any of their other releases - if you have the others and wonder whether this one's worth getting, doubt no more.
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on 2 February 2005
A Touareg band, their music is synonymous with the travel lightly principles of nomadic life. A camel might be able to carry a lute or a guitar, but it is going to extremes if you expect it to cart around an amplifier and a couple of speakers as well. And it can, of course, be a real pain trying to find an electricity socket in a sand dune or a tent.
The Touaregs have recently experienced a torrid time, being herded into camps while the old colonial power and the new independent countries of north Africa dispute the permeability of their borders. It might be a tradition that the Touareg roam the desert, but modern boundaries show sparse concern for tradition.
Tinariwen's music arose as a protest against their imprisonment. These are songs which follow a traditional style - the emphasis is in the use of the voice and the telling of a story, nurturing the words to entrance your audience. These are hardy people. They respect the power of the word and the strength of a song. Although the CD 'sleeve notes' do not provide a translation, the emotion comes across. Their rhythms are not as mechanistic or as frenetic as many Western bands - the beat you follow here is more cerebral, more akin to the pace of desert life.
The recording lacks the over-production associated with many Western recordings. This is sparse music, in keeping with its situation. The human voice is the easiest instrument to carry on a camel or horse. It is served up with assurance, here, the lead being echoed by a female or male chorus. There are no frills or pretensions. First and foremost, the music appeals to you as being honest. We have no hype here, no self-infatuation, merely human beings enjoying the pleasures of communicating with others.
The sounds are hypnotic - they carry you along and energise you with their simplicity and calm energy. This is refreshing music, music to cleanse your pallet of all the noise you hear on the radio. This is music to which you can relate, wherever you come from.
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on 23 August 2004
This CD is a mix of modern and traditional music created by a nomadic tribe from the Sub-Sahara desert. The tribe officially lives in the country of Mali. The liner notes are required to understand the theme of the songs: the desire for freedom and independence under restrictions and occupation (the French). The artificial borders created by the French restrict their lifestyle. The music reflects their free spirit: it is ambient, uninhibited, natural. It does not possess the over-powering percussion often associated with nomadic Arabic people.
The male vocals are accompanied by great guitar rhythms and melodies ... sometimes a female chorus responds to the male vocals. This traditional music is called "Tishoumaren" or "Ishumar" for short and is in the "new style" accompanied by guitar instead of the traditional lute. Modern guitarists & pop musicians such as Bob Marley, John Lennon, & Bob Dylan influecned their music, the liner notes inform us. The language sounds Arabic and is called "Kel Tamashek".
There is a plaintif quality to the vocals, an expression of sincere yearning for freedom while struggling for rights and freedom. They basically sing about the right to survive ... The music was banned both in Mali and Algeria in the 1980s and available only on the black market. Even then, if someone was caught with it, the result was beatings or worse. In every sense, this is a historical recording of the struggle to stay alive of a nomadic people, whose lifestyle is threatened by modern politics. This is what the vocalists are singing about. The tribe has been marginalized outsiders who swallow up their land and territory. This is a valuable recording on a spiritual, political, and human level. It is music that represents a dream for independence that may just be out of reach. They express their hopes and needs through this great music which reminds us of their cause. Erika Borsos (bakonyvilla)
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on 15 July 2015
I love the desert blues and desert rock, particularly in this time of manufactured pop pap, but there again I grew to appreciate music from 1962 onwards, so I have high standards and expectations. This is possible their most tribally typical, more raw and rough and all the better for it. I also love Tamikrest and Terakaft and, for me, this substitutes western popular music decline with an upsurge of real, genuine heartfelt soul food music. Check out the Festival in the Sahara DVD as well.
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on 30 June 2014
I've heard them several times over the years but, this is the first time that I have invested in an album and...I recommend it! Personally, I find it relaxing and can listen to the album from start to finish in one go.
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on 2 September 2009
If you ever wondered where Seasick Steve came up with The 3 String Trance Wonder songs they were North Mississippi one chord vamps. These originated in Africa and you can hear the hypnotic nature of the music in Tinariwen.
ExcellentAfrican Rhythms
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on 26 December 2014
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on 11 September 2013
I believe it is due within the next couple of weeks

I have not chased it as we have been on leave
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