Terakaft: Alone (Out Here)

 |   |  1 min read

Terakaft: Anabayou/Awkward (solo version)
Terakaft: Alone (Out Here)

Old hands -- greybeards we might say -- in the genre that we loosely call "world music" have long ago given up trying to anticipate where the next great sounds might come from and, as we have mentioned previously, so should rock seers.

Not one of them would have predicted Memphis, Liverpool or Trenchtown, to name just a few.

And just when you think a genre might have run its course, along comes someone within to restore faith or reinvigorate it.

The ill-named but usefully taxonomic "Sahara blues" (aka "desert blues") should have exhausted our 21st century short-concentration span almost a decade ago . . . but as long as those first names to emerge from the yellow sand of North Africa -- literally on camels -- of  Tamikrest and Etran Finatawa (the latter linking up with Celt-folkists Tuung) continue to explore new territory then the genre remains vital.

And in recent years Western artists have been hitched to the sound as in the case of the Dirt Music album where guitarist/producer Chris Eckman (the Bill Laswell of West Africa? Nah, not really) have brought new elements to bear. 

And here again with this album we find a new variant: Part of the second generation of Tuareg musicians, Terakaft are now five albums in with Alone  . . . but this — dance-directed, groove-riding rock with weaving dual guitar lines — leaps out of your soundsytem courtesy of producer Justin Adams who has been the guitarist in Robert Plant's Sensational Space Shifters and has produced the godfathers of desert blues Tinariwen, the band Terakaft leader Diara co-founded.

So there's an interwoven history of collectivism and common understanding, and although this album is just 37 minutes in taut duration there's soulful intensity and musical conciseness at work.

Terakaft's three members now live in exile after the on-going conflicts in Mali, but even in songs like the pop-conscious Oulhin Asnin/My Heart Suffers their yearning is so close you feel you could touch it.

The opener Anabayou/Awkward sets the tone as Adams brings in a rock-consciousness (although it also gets a moving solo treatment at the end) and Karambani/Nastiness has such a nagging groove-riding riff that it's unshakeable. And it picks up fast tempo at the end, so be warned if you throw it on to get dancers on the floor, as you should be tempted to do.

Maybe because the band's name translates as caravan, in the loping Tafouk Tele/The Sun Is There you can imagine a relentless ride across an unforgivingly hot and arid desertscape.

This is an evocative, compelling and often quite thrilling album which not only re-invigorates a genre but stands as an exciting slice of rockist-desert blues, especially when those guitars start to sting and sing.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

SHIVKUMAR SHARMA INTERVIEWED (2012): Answering the master's call

SHIVKUMAR SHARMA INTERVIEWED (2012): Answering the master's call

Very few musicians could claim to have not only changed the musical direction and possibilities of their chosen instrument, but of also of having played a key role in how that instrument was... > Read more

Hossam Ramzy and Samy El Bably; Cairo Nights (Arc/Elite) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Hossam Ramzy and Samy El Bably; Cairo Nights (Arc/Elite) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Elsewhere listeners know it is unwise to judge an album -- especially a world music album, and most particularly a bellydance album -- by its cover. Beneath the bejewelled, bikini-top breasts on... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . ZOOGZ RIFT: Speaking more than Frankly

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . ZOOGZ RIFT: Speaking more than Frankly

Because his music and career was so diverse, heretical and dispirate, few would try to follow in the footsteps of Frank Zappa. He seems to have spawned no progeny. With one notable exception:... > Read more

MILES DAVIS : SKETCHES OF SPAIN, CONSIDERED (2017): Jazz at the interface of classical music

MILES DAVIS : SKETCHES OF SPAIN, CONSIDERED (2017): Jazz at the interface of classical music

When Miles Davis entered Columbia Records’ New York studio in November 1959 with composer/arranger Gil Evans and producer Teo Macero to record the material for the album Sketches of Spain,... > Read more