I just heard of their music as of late as I was check­ing up on what “TV on the Radio” was up to. It seems that Tunde Ade­bimpe and Kyp Mal­one (both from TVotR) are fea­tured in Tinari­wen’s lat­est sin­gle, “Tenere Taqqim Tossam”. And now, here we are…

Tinari­wen is a Tuareg group that per­forms in a Mid­dle Eastern/African style sim­i­lar to artists like Ali Far­ka Toure or Nus­rat Fateh Ali Khan. All of the musi­cians orig­i­nat­ing from the south­ern Sahara, the group’s name, mean­ing “emp­ty places,” is a reflec­tion of their lands of ori­gin. The band formed in the rebel camps of Colonel Ghadaf­fi, as each of the musi­cians had been forced from their nomadic lifestyle into invol­un­tary mil­i­tary ser­vice. Sur­round­ed by a dis­placed nation of their peers, Tinari­wen forged a new style of music, trad­ing their tra­di­tion­al lutes and shep­herd’s flutes for elec­tric gui­tars and drums. The style that result­ed was dubbed Tishoumaren, “the music of the unem­ployed.” Their music addressed issues such as polit­i­cal awak­en­ing, prob­lems of exile, repres­sion of their peo­ple, and demands of sov­er­eign­ty. In a region with no postal or tele­phone sys­tem, their tapes soon became a grass­roots voice of rebel­lion and a ral­ly­ing point for a dis­en­fran­chised nation. Though out­lawed in Alge­ria and Mali, 2001’s The Radio Tis­das Ses­sions and 2004’s Amas­sak­oul are avail­able to West­ern audi­ences.
—Evan C. Gutier­rez, Rovi

To those new to Tinariwen’s music (as I am), in addi­tion to get­ting to know the records, below is a mul­ti-part doc­u­men­tary filmed in 2007 on the group:

Part 1
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Part 2
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Last but not least, here are recent “Dessert Ses­sions” that they have filmed/documented with music from their lat­est album, “Tas­sili”.
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If you would like to hear more, here’s a YouTube playlist for Tinari­wen.

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