Tinariwen: Amajdar (Anti/digital outlets)

 |   |  1 min read

Tinariwen: Amajdar (Anti/digital outlets)
Elsewhere has written about Tinariwen so often that we will come at this new album from another angle.

The title apparently means “the unknown visitor” in their Tamashek language, but the visitors on this, their eighth album, are probably quite well known to our readers: Warren Ellis of Dirty Three/Bad Seeds appears on fiddle on five of the 13 pieces here and guitarists Stephen O'Malley of Sun O))), experimentalist Cass McCombs and Rodolphe Burger (whom we haven't heard from since this album) all appear.

But perhaps of more note is the astonishing Mauritanian singer Noura Mint Seymali and her guitarist husband Jeiche Ould Chighaly on the swirling and apocalyptic psychedelics of Zawal.

Perhaps Seymali and Chighaly encountered Tinariwen while on the Womad circuit which brought them to Taranaki earlier this year where each band played blindingly mesmerising sets.

Seymali takes a back seat in the chorus on Zawal but comes to the fore on Takount which dials back the interweaving virtuosi guitar playing for a more acoustic approach and lets her ululating style sit at the centre.

And she is there again on the archetypal desert drone of Amalouna.

Recorded in Mauritania with a mobile studio – back close to their homeland of Mali after two albums recorded in the Californian desert – this captures Tinariwen in all their raw beauty, with the guests slotting into their conception.

Even Burger – often a assertive presence but who has explored all kinds of music – becomes part of the tapestry on Iklam Dglour which ends with a casual discussion.

Tinariwen are sophisticated artists who have had Western guests in the past (among them Kurt Vile, Mark Lanegan, Nels Cline and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band) but they always only ever sounded like themselves, such is the power of their vision.

In the absence of a lyric sheet in translation Elsewhere can only guess at what these songs are about but it's a fair guess that their dislocation from their homeland (Islamist extremists, violence) and their faith are at the heart of these sometimes ineffably sad sounding songs (Itous Ohar).

As always, Tinariwen – whose sound has spawned a movement along with Etran Finatawa – create something beautiful out of that sadness and loss.

You can hear Amajdar at Spotify here.


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

El Naan: Codigo de Barros (ARC)

El Naan: Codigo de Barros (ARC)

While the elements of melody and rhythm might be ancient, and the lyrics (outlined in English in the booklet) contain timeless stories of a world being rapidly left behind, this is no journey into... > Read more

The Chieftains featuring Ry Cooder: San Patricio (Universal)

The Chieftains featuring Ry Cooder: San Patricio (Universal)

Here's something we don't hear as often as we used to: a concept album with guest stars and telling a historical story – in this case the Irish Catholics migrant soldiers who deserted from... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . EVIE SANDS: Ever the bridesmaid

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . EVIE SANDS: Ever the bridesmaid

When the pub quiz question comes up, be prepared: The guy who wrote Wild Thing, Chip Taylor, is the brother of actor Jon Voight and therefore the uncle of Angelina Jolie. For bonus points, he... > Read more

1950s RADIO IN COLOUR; THE LOST PHOTOGRAPHS OF DEEJAY TOMMY EDWARDS by CHRISTOPHER KENNEDY

1950s RADIO IN COLOUR; THE LOST PHOTOGRAPHS OF DEEJAY TOMMY EDWARDS by CHRISTOPHER KENNEDY

Cleveland, Ohio has a formidable reputation as a rock'n'roll city -- today it is the home of the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and Museum -- but you'd have to guess there was more to it than just that... > Read more