For the band Tinariwen, music is life. The band members belong to the Tuareg, a nomadic tribe that calls the Saharan Desert home, but Tinariwen haven’t had a home for the past few years due to political unrest in the North Africa region. Instead, they recorded their most recent album, Emmaar, in the deserts of California. The name “tinariwen” translates to “deserts,” and it perfectly captures the band’s dry, wandering sound. The group’s roots stretch all the way back to the ’60s, when founding member Ibrahim Ag Alhabib started performing Tuareg and Arabic songs in various refugee camps. He soon matched protest lyrics to rebels of another sort: guitar heroes. The playing styles of Jimi Hendrix, Santana, and Jimmy Page became his template, and the wider world soon came calling.
After French radio started playing Tinariwen’s music in 2001, the band’s notoriety spread. Robert Plant, Bono, Thom Yorke, and others sang their praises, and in 2011, Tinariwen won a Grammy. They continuously tour the world, and KUTX caught the band live at SXSW 2014 for a set of “desert blues.” While the guitar-playing is exceptional and unique, during the performance the spotlight turned to bassist Eyadou Ag Leche for “Tenere Sastanakan.” Download the song below, and catch Tinariwen at Fun Fun Fun Fest 2014.
Saturday, Nov. 8 – Yellow Stage, 6:15 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 8 – The Belmont (outdoors), 11:00 p.m.