tue 11/08/2020

CD: Tinariwen - Amadjar | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Tinariwen - Amadjar

CD: Tinariwen - Amadjar

Tuareg crew’s collaborations take their desert grooves to new and beautiful places

Amadjar: light in dark times

Tinariwen’s music has always been evocative of West African deserts with their mellow blues-like guitars and shuffling groove. Initially recording everything in Mali until it was invaded by religious fanatics who deemed playing music forbidden, Tinariwen have had to lay down their last few discs away from home. Amadjar, however, sees the band return to West Africa to team up with griotte singer, Noura Mint Seymali and her guitarist husband, Jeiche Ould Chighaly. Recorded in two weeks, in a large tent outside Nouakchott in Mauritania, Amadjar is soaked in nomadic grooves with a dromedary’s gait and soulful singing that is really, quite beautiful and is certainly their most satisfying album in a while.

Melodies soar and glide with beautiful and poetic vocals that take on the political, social and environmental disasters that have wrought chaos in Mali in recent years. However, Amadjar is consistently rootsy, tapping into the soul with songs of hope that move hips, rather than encourage despair, with their communal, campfire vibe.

Having produced a fine body of work in Mauritania, Tinariwen invited various Westerners, including Bad Seed Warren Ellis and Sunn O))) mainman Stephen O’Malley, to finesse and tinker with the recordings. Atmospheric drones, bowed violins and blusey tinges were subsequently mixed into the songs to surprisingly good effect. Ellis’ trippy additions to “Iklam Dglour” and “Zawai” and O’Malley’s guitar on “Amalouna” being particularly sympathetic and unobtrusive, while still feeling an essential part of these recording, rather than a chancer’s add-on. In fact, they also appear together on the primal and deeply soulful “Wartilla” with its picked guitar, bowed strings and hip-swinging groove, for the high point of a magnificent album.

Amadjar takes Tinariwen’s nomadic journey to new pastures that have truly yielded something to replenish the human spirit with a glorious collaboration of Tuareg assouf, atmospheric blues and Mauritanian griotte music that offers some light in these dark times.

Amadjar takes Tinariwen’s nomadic journey to new pastures that have truly yielded something to replenish the human spirit

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Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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