Sastanàqqàm - Tinariwen

from the album Elwan (2017)

There are two things I did about Tinariwen:  their story and their sound.

Ibrahim Ag Alhabib was born in 1959, a member of the semi-nomadic Tuareg ethnic group that spanned across Saharan Africa.  At the age of four, he witnessed the execution of his rebel father in Mali.  By his late teens, he had primarily settled in Algeria and Libya.

By the time he was twenty, he was playing Chaabi (a musical genre common to Northern African weddings and festivals) and western rock music driven by artists like Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, as well as the reggae of Bob Marley.  It was here that he formed the band Kei Tinariwen (The Desert Boys) which serves as the foundation for today's band.

In 1980, the band members were conscripted into Khadafi's Libian Army.  Five years later, they switched sides to join the rebel movement in Libya.  At this time, Tinariwn began recording music and distributing it for free to anyone who provided them with a cassette.

Ultimately, this put them on a trajectory that has led to Grammy awards and global fame.  I dig that !!!

Sastanàqqàm manages to encompass the band's journey in a single song.  The percussion, vocal melody, and arrangement all speak to the Saharan style.  The guitar tones and performances ring of western rock influence.  Yet my favorite thing is the groove that holds it all together, with its roots in American funk and all the rebellion that such a bass line infers.

Click Here to listen to Sastanàqqàm.