Friday 3 July 2020
Placing you at the centre of a nomadic sound world

In the early 80s, long before the Western music industry discovered this desert jewel, Tinariwen was already touring North Africa.

A collective of Tuareg musicians, Tinariwen produces bewitching music with undeniable power. Song of exile and hope, this Sahel blues (or ‘desert blues’ as many music fans know it as) was born on the road, in north-eastern Mali.

Tinariwen plays African guitar-based blues spun on various traditions such as the rhythms and melodies of the Tuaregs and the Berbers’ more pop-oriented approach to music. The band is inspired by a number of Mali's great musicians, including not least the highly influential Ali Farka Touré. At the beginning of their career, Tinariwen's members listened with great pleasure to bootleg albums by Western bands like Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix, which can be heard in the band’s sound.

There is a hazy expansiveness to Tinariwen’s music that recalls the desert. Fuzzy guitars are rhythmically picked over undulating rhythms and gravelly baritone vocals. It is almost as if you can feel a sand-laden breeze when you listen.

With The Radio Tisdas Sessions from 2001, the band reached an audience outside the borders of the Sahara for the first time. 2001 was also the year when the band played at Roskilde Festival – that was their very first concert outside of Africa.

The album Aman Iman from 2007 catapulted Tinariwen into international recognition and fame, and 2011’s Tassili, which was guested by Nels Cline (Wilco) and Tunde Adebimpe og Kyp Malone (TV On the Radio) even won them music awards.

In 2019, the band released their ninth and latest album, Amadjar, to great acclaim. This time around they were guested by the likes of Warren Ellis (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds), Stephen O’Malley and Mauritanian griots Noura Mint Seymali and Jeiche Ould Chighaly.

Roskilde Festival will turn into a dusty desert, and the public – carried away by haunting songs, sharp guitars and hypnotizing percussion – will be won over slowly but surely by an irresistible trance.