Tinariwen: “Imidiwan Ma Tenam”
Tinariwen is a collective of musicians from the western Saharan Desert. Members are Tuareg, nomadic people that make their home in parts of Niger, Mali, Algeria, Libya and other countries. Founded in 1980, members of Tinariwen have been, at different times, refugees, rebel fighters and traditional Tuareg troubadours.
The decades-old group finally found fame in the late ’90s after being discovered by the French world music group Lo’Jo. Since then, Tinariwen graced stages at mega-festivals like Glastonbury and Coachella. Musicians as diverse as Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Nels Cline of Wilco all guest on Tinariwen’s latest record, Tassili.
The album was recorded in a tent in the small village Tassili N’Ajjer in southern Algeria. It’s a return to roots for members of Tinariwen, as they forgo the electric instruments that brought them fame and record with acoustic guitars and unamplified percussion. Today’s song of the day is “Imidiwan Ma Tenam,” the lead track from Tassili. The title means, “What have you got to say my friends” in the band’s native tongue. The song is hypnotic–just like the desert it came from.
You can see Tinariwen live next month at Fun Fun Fun Fest.