Skip to content

Tinariwen at Amoeba on Thursday, September 29th, 2011

There was recently an interview of Fool’s Gold in the LA Weekly, one of these bands which mixes African rhythms with Western rock, and there was an allusion to an interesting question by an English journalist, asking, ‘Why would I listen to you guys when I could listen to real African artists?'
Yes, why? Why listening to Western copies of the real thing, when you have Tinariwen, a Tuareg band performing at Amoeba on Thursday night.

It is actually a false problem as Lewis Pesacov, the lead guitarist of Fool’s Gold explained:
‘But we and the African musicians are coming from such different places. A lot of African musicians love Clapton, for example, they're trying to be like rock guitar players, and they're coming at American blues in such a different way. And that's why it sounds different. Remember, the Brazilian tropicalista musicians of the '70s proudly 'cannibalized' British and American pop music. It's a dialogue between Western and non-Western music.’
In the same idea, I also remember an interview of famous African musicians declaring they wanted to emulate Dire Straits.

And it is a little what is happening with Tinariwen, which looked like true rockers, despite their traditional outfits, as they were using electric guitars and bass, the only traditional instrument on stage being an African drum. Since 2001, they have recorded in studios in France and Mali, although their sound has its true origin in the desert between Mali and Algeria, where frontman Ibrahim Ag Alhabib grew up. Watching him at Amoeba, he had this mysterious look of someone silently observing people, with more wisdom than that of a 51 year-old man. When I read his bio, it all made sense: his father was a Tuareg rebel who was executed in front of his eyes when he was only 4, he lived in refugee camps and later joined a Tuareg army backed by Qaddafi!

With their latest release ‘Tassili’ last August, the band wanted to return to its beginning, with a melancholic, repetitive chant, the ‘ishumar’, which ‘means exile or being adrift’, as they explained in an interview.

But do Tuaregs actually play guitars, and as a matter of fact, electric guitars? No, in reality, Alhabib saw a cowboy playing a guitar in a movie when he was a child, and built his own one out of a tin can. The music of Tinariwen (which means deserts) was born from this two-way exchange, exotic, seemingly coming from the Sahara and at the same time, immediately accessible. Everyone at Amoeba was clapping and dancing along their repetitive incantations, which were slowly moving, opening soundscapes as wide as the desert, while building this deep groove, ‘stolen’ by bands like Junip. The band was not speaking much, but were visibly appreciating the very positive reaction from the crowd, just saying a few 'thank you', or 'merci beaucoup'.

Six on stage, and not moving much, except one of the singers and the drummer, their three-voice harmonies were escaping from African guitars turning in circles, and accelerating a bit on some songs, making a guy in the crowd, who had dressed up like a Tuareg for the occasion, jump exhilaratingly with his puppet camel.

The style of their music or ‘asuf’, as they call it, has been compared to the American blues, and the more I was looking at Ag Alhabib, the more I thought he looked like a Chuck Berry with an afro, minus all the moves of the American musician.

They sure were putting a spell on the crowd, as everyone was fascinated by the spectacle. Just before they started the show, a young guy said to another one he had come from Salt Lake City especially to see them! A long trip, but the music definitively had this healing sensation coming from the deep desert.
 

Leave a Comment





Amazon_Smile_logo-e1623352788338-reupload
ScreenShot2020-10-05at12.00.04PM-reupload

Support Let Me Help Inc by shopping at smile.amazon.com

The Daisy Jopling Band To Perform “Who’s Who” At The Transfiguration Church In Tarrytown, NY Sunday May 12th, 2024 7 PM ET

By admin | May 9, 2024 |

The Transfiguration Church in Tarrytown, New York Presents “Who’s Who”, original violin arrangements of iconic songs by The Who performed by the Daisy Jopling Band featuring the Sleepy Hollow High School Chamber Orchestra on Sunday, May 12th, 2024. Location: Transfiguration Church 268 South Broadway Tarrytown, NY 10591 United States Tickets are $25 and can be…

Cyborg Drummer/DJ DRMAGDN Headlining Montauk Music Fest

By admin | April 9, 2024 |

Major Label BMG Records Artist & Producer DRMAGDN Cyborg Drummer / DJ will be making his Montauk Music Fest debut this year in May. DRMAGDN will be the Official Host & MC of The Montauk Music Fest plus play headlining sets on Friday 5/17 and Saturday 5/18 from 10pm-12am at Gurney’s Montauk Resort (290 Old…

RED CARPET EVENT @ Chelsea Table & Stage 4/12/24 Featuring THE AMERICAN RELICS & DRMAGDN

By admin | March 25, 2024 |

On Friday April 12th, 2024 beginning at 6:30 pm ET  there will be a Red Carpet event pre-show sponsored by Tribeca Records at the trendy nightspot Chelsea Table and Stage located in the heart of Chelsea at 152 west 26th street (inside the Hilton Fashion Hotel) in NYC. The Red Carpet will be followed by…

Live Review: Composer Randy Edelman Live at Chelsea T&S “2nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Massacre” 03/16/24 and Record Release in NYC

By admin | March 17, 2024 |

There was an infinite vitality of velvet green flowing deliciously through the air as Composer Randy Edelman presented his 2nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Massacre at the trendy new nightspot Chelsea Table & Stage in the heart of NYC on March 16, 2024….. a vivacious close to the spirited Irish Parade. His music is the…

DRMAGDN: Cyborg Drummer/DJ Debuts @ Chelsea T&S With Retro 80’s Party & Red Carpet Event 4/12/24

By admin | February 29, 2024 |

BMG recording artist, producer and World renowned, Global Touring Electrifying Powerhouse, DRMAGDN: Cyborg Drummer and DJ will make his debut at the popular, trendy night spot Chelsea Table & Stage (located at 152 west 26th street inside the Hilton Hotel) on  Friday April 12, 2024 @ 9:00PM. DRMAGDN will be celebrating his high energy brand of Electronic Dance Music (EDM)…

Going Steady: New Singles 2-23-24- 2-29-24 Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | February 26, 2024 |

dance pop, gooey confection

US Top Ten Albums Tracking 2-16-24 – 2-22-24

By Iman Lababedi | February 26, 2024 |

75K EAUs is abysmal

Our Friend Tony Orlando’s Farewell Tour

By admin | February 25, 2024 |

“I still hit the ball, I just can’t run the bases!!!”

Sneak Peaks: New Album releases 3-1-24 – 3-7-24

By Iman Lababedi | February 25, 2024 |

contenders for the best punk rock around

Child Bite, Lamb Of God, Pantera At Madison Square Garden, Thursday, February 22nd, 2024, Reviewed

By Iman Lababedi | February 25, 2024 |

A three hours of hard rock, metal not metal, swift, loud, egoless pure metal

Scroll To Top