Tinariwen under the stars

The Tuareg music group Tinariwen released a 9th album entitled "Amadjar". © Marie Planeille


Prepared on a dozen parties around the fire during a crossing of the desert between Taragalte, oasis of the south-east of Morocco and Nouakchott at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Amadjar , 9th opus of Tinariwen, was recorded at the end of the tour around the capital of Mauritania. Militant, both poignant and demanding, these thirteen songs draw their strength from the very essence of the Tuareg people, namely nomadism, "a culture, a way of life" that Abdallah Ag Lamida, one of the composers, guitarists and singers of the group "fears to see disappear", as he entrusts us in this interview conducted remotely by mail exchange.

RFI Musique: In what way, beyond the "beautiful story" for the media, the stamp of authenticity "made in desert", the conditions of registration of this 9th album have influenced its content?
Abdallah Ag Lamida: The journey, the road, the relationship with nature and the pleasure of being outside our tours are elements that allowed us to make this record, to choose the repertoire among the hundreds of songs we have written for 30 years, and to compose new ones. We watched during the recording, to keep the spirit of these songs worked, repeated, the evening during the bivouacs, around the fire.

What relationship do you have with the night?
At night, the heat falls, the animals go out to hunt and feed. This is the moment when we meet to sing while preparing the evening meal. The night inspires us because we are with the stars.

Over the titles, you give us to discover a changing world. What are the most dramatic changes you face when you return from tour?
Taqkal Tarha , one of the titles that addresses this topic was written a long time ago. If his text is still relevant, it is that the world does not change little or not finally ... The climate changes, not men unfortunately.

On Elwan, your previous album, you paid tribute to the Saharan mountains in which you grew up and which for some years now, have been transformed into conflict zones that are disputed by Islamists, drug traffickers and gangs. What future do you envisage for the Sahara and for the Tuaregs in particular?
It has been more than 40 years since our people lived between five frontiers following the decolonization and the routes that divided the Sahara into different countries. We wish to move freely on the land of our ancestors, but unfortunately this is less and less possible. Touaregs are increasingly forced to settle. Because of drought, lack of water and pasture, ethnic conflict, radical Islamism, our people are forced to flee and settle in the city. If this continues, we are going towards the end of nomadism as we have known it, and consequently the end of our culture, our way of life, simple and close to nature.

Throughout your career, you have collaborated with artists from other worlds (the producer and guitarist Justin Adams, the Pakistani singer Kiran Ahluwalia ...). This time you invite the Mauritanian griot and ardîn player (stringed instrument played in Mauritania and West Africa) Noura Mint Seymali and her husband, the guitarist Jeiche Ould Chigaly. How was the connection made?
We met Noura and Jeiche on tour, especially in Australia and we love their music. I contacted them when we arrived on the outskirts of Nouakchott to offer them to come and make music with us. They participated in three titles of Amadjar.

More surprising, because more geographically than artistically, Warren Ellis, Nick Cave's violinist Micah Nelson, Neil Young's son Willie Nelson and guitarist, as well as Stephen O 'Malley, Cass McCombs and Rodolphe Burger's guitarists participate also to this album. Did they make the trip to Nouakchott?
It was our producer Patrick Votan who made us discover the music of Warren Ellis, Micah Nelson, Stephen O'Malley and Cass McCombs, and invited us to invite them to the studio. Warren, Stephen and Rodolphe Burger, who is a longtime friend of Ibrahim, have recorded in Paris. As for Joshua Smith who mixes our album, we had already worked in 2014 with him on Emmaar, our album recorded partly in the Joshua Tree Nature Park (California / USA).

Tinariwen Amadjar (Wedge / PIAS) 2019

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By: Squaaly


album - Tuareg music - Mali

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