Imarhan: “Assossamagh”

Photo by Jo Bongard

All this week, the Song of the Day highlights Levitation Fest artists.

Tuareg music has moved west over the past few years thanks to the trailblazing of acts like Tinariwen and Bombino. Imarhan follows in their footsteps–frontman Sadam is even related to one of the members of Tinariwen–but the band heads in a slightly different direction. Imarhan hails from Tamanrasset, a city in southern Algeria not far from the Tuareg community’s roots in Mali and the Sahara. Dislocation is the theme in Tuareg music, and Imarhan piles a lot of different sounds together.

But the band also sounds rooted and steady, more focused on the slow-burn than Bombino’s blasts. The groove on “Assossamagh” is a complex creation, shaded by reggae but constantly pulling you forward. That bluesy Tuareg guitar style churns through the song, gritty and determined but still dreaming.

Catch Imarhan on Friday, April 29 on the Levitation Stage at 3:05 p.m. Imarhan is out April 29 via City Slang.

–Art Levy

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