Saturday, November 03, 2007

Festival Of The Desert

Not many bands can claim to have been formed in a guerilla training camp, but Tinariwen trace their origins to the decision by Libya's Colonel Gaddafi to give assistance to Mali's Tuareg rebels in their fight against the central government. They are not fighters anymore, and a still uneasy peace holds; although there have been reports of Tuareg uprisings in neighbouring countries recently. Despite the external influences they assimilated, their sound is very much their own. This video gives a taste of the music and the story behind it:

Tinariwen played in Madrid a few days ago, together with Vieux Farka Toure, the son of the late Ali Farka Toure. The first time I saw this band was in Mali itself, at the Festival of the Desert that is held every January in the desert dunes around 60 kilometres from Timbuktu. The week I spent either at the festival, or travelling there and back, remains one of the most impressive - and eventful - journeys I have ever made. Is this sufficient excuse to include a camel photo on my blog? I think it is.

and this is Tinariwen on stage in Mali....

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