Terakaft: Aratan N Azawad (World Village)

 |   |  1 min read

Terakaft: Wer Essinen
Terakaft: Aratan N Azawad (World Village)

Just as John Mayall's bands spawned others when players left the ranks, so it seems the desert blues out of the sub-Sahara is an ever-flowering plant: this group -- which formed in 2001 -- contains two former members of Tinariwen and inevitably work in a not dissimilar musical territory.

This is their third album so they are dogging very close to the quite prolific Tinariwen and Etran Finatawa, but while they have a considerable appeal (more of that in a minute) they also don't have some of the fire that the next generation (Tamikrest) seem to possess.

The opener, the exciting Algahem, is undeniably gripping with its taut bluesy guitars and desperate vocals (in translation, "There is trust and understanding in the world but the Touaregs are divided and scattered") and throughout there are similarly compelling songs, all with those white-knuckle guitars which sound as close to Howling Wolf and John Lee Hooker as you can imagine. (The Hendrix legacy the cover claims isn't nearly as evident.)

And to their credit -- their point of difference we might say -- they explore slower material (the title track, Aman Wi Kawalnen and Ahod which all sound more like electric folk than the electric blues elsewhere).

Akoz Imgharen has a light and uplifting touch (despite lyrics which read "I am stunned by these aged four, they have cried in misery since their birth"), and Idiya Idohena has a casual lope which we might consider almost country-flavoured, even before we knew the lyrics ("He has a belt and well saddled horse, he rides to the south").

So although there is enough to enjoy here (the best material, like Amazzagh and Wer Essinen and that opener, errs into that hard blues area) and which confirms the particular world view of people from this region, there's not that sense of discovery or sustained thrill their peers have offered.

Like the sound of this? Then try this sampler of desert blues and move out from there.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Various: The Laya Project (Elite)

Various: The Laya Project (Elite)

This ambitious concept and elaborate package (two CDs/a DVD/booklet in the gatefold sleeve) should certainly attract attention -- although some questions hang over it. Essentially the project of... > Read more

Various Artists: Anywhere on the Road (Warners)

Various Artists: Anywhere on the Road (Warners)

As many Elsewhere readers would be aware, the late English radio DJ Charlie Gillett hosted important weekly radio shows over the decades which pulled music from around the planet: World Music from... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Lykke Li: I Never Learn (Atlantic)

Lykke Li: I Never Learn (Atlantic)

Recently while talking with one of my sons who lives in Stockholm I asked him what the hell was going on in Sweden, it seems every week I am hearing great music from artists out of that northern... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Alicia Dara of Volcano Diary

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Alicia Dara of Volcano Diary

Alicia Dara is the sublime voice and guiding intellect behind the currently unsigned Seattle band The Volcano Diary whose self-titled debut album is reviewed at Elsewhere. She was born in... > Read more