Tinariwen: Emmaar (Pop Noire)

 |   |  1 min read

Tinariwen: Aghregh Medin
Tinariwen: Emmaar (Pop Noire)

The Sahara blues caravan rolls on, and now with this seminal Tuareg group from Mali it is relocated to another desert. Because of troubles from Islamic extremists in their homeland, Tinariwen recorded this in Joshua Tree, California which must have made them feel pretty much at home (except for the absence of camels, their food etc).

Here with a little outside assistance -- notably guitarist Josh Klinghoffer from Red Hot Chili Peppers and fiddle/steel guitar player Matt Sweeney -- they bring their droning chant and quicksilver guitars to 11 new songs which (in translation) bemoan the situation in their homeland, their sense of exile, a deeply sad urge to their countrymen to wake up to the people's plight (the ineffably sad Sendad Eghlalan/This Constant Lethargy) and feelings of loss.

Their previous album Tassili in 2011 won them a Grammy for best world music album and this crisply produced follow-up has more than enough going for it to make you think they'd be frontrunners again.

The boiling and driving Imdiwanin ahi Tifhamam/Friends Understand Me has a desperate urgency at one end of their musical spectrum and the dreamy Emajer sits at the other, more hypnotic, end.

And the closing track Aghregh Medin/I Call on Man at the end is a gentle lament over those filagree guitar lines which are the hallmark of this genre.

The album title Emmaar translates to The Heat on the Breeze, but it is a more metaphorical warmth than a literal one.

Another exceptional Tinariwen album, but this time out more imbued with sadness, as you might expect.

For more on Tinariwen see here, and for more on the Sahara/desert blues artists go here.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Pacific Curls: Te Kore (Ode)

Pacific Curls: Te Kore (Ode)

The previous album, Pacifi Celta, by this increasingly interesting trio of singer, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Kim Halliday, singer/percussionist Ora Barlow and fiddle player Sarah Beattie... > Read more

Mahala Rai Banda: Ghetto Blasters (Asphalt Tango/Southbound)

Mahala Rai Banda: Ghetto Blasters (Asphalt Tango/Southbound)

Okay, definitely not for every taste but here is clubland, rocked up Gypsy music from Bucharest driven by a brassy horn section and hefty backbeats, and fronted by singer/composer/violinist Ionita... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

CATCHING THE SUN by TONY PARSONS

CATCHING THE SUN by TONY PARSONS

All across the Pacific, South East Asia and in fact anywhere warm, cheap and exotic to Europeans, there are men – and sometimes families – who have washed up and are foundering in... > Read more

Duke Robillard: Passport to the Blues (Stony Plain)

Duke Robillard: Passport to the Blues (Stony Plain)

Multiple award winner Robillard founded Roomful of Blues in the late Sixties, was in the Fabulous Thunderbirds and has been playing for more than four decades, and shows no signs of slowing with... > Read more