Music

'Simplicity is freedom'

Tinariwen brings Tuareg-style desert blues to Taos

By Tempo staff
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 8/20/18

Tinariwen, a Taos favorite from the Sahara Desert, will be in town Tuesday (Aug. 21) for a show at the Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership. This time, the band will include ...

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Music

'Simplicity is freedom'

Tinariwen brings Tuareg-style desert blues to Taos

Posted

Tinariwen, a Taos favorite from the Sahara Desert, will be in town Tuesday (Aug. 21) for a show at the Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership, 20 ABC Mesa Road, off U.S. 64 west.

This time, the band will include founder and often reclusive lead singer Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, who doesn't always tour with the band.

The band hails from Kidal, Mali and Tamanrasset, Algeria, according to its website. Descended from Tuareg nomads, the band has enthralled the world stage for years with its style of blues guitar and lyrics in their native Tamashek, also called Tamajaq or Tamahaq.

"Tinariwen is one of our favorite bands on the planet," said John Henderson of Roots and Wires, who arranged to bring the band back for their fifth time to Taos. "We're intrigued by their sounds and rhythms and history."

Reserve, New Mexico hill country bluesman Cooper C.W. Ayon will open the show, which begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $22 in advance and $25 at the door.

The blues cut across culture and language, expressing the deep emotions of people overcoming strife in their own lives and in a community. Blues is a shared musical expression among people. "There are universal themes," said Henderson.

Band member and multi-instrumentalist, Eyadou Ag Leche, told The Taos News in an interview a couple of years ago that their songs are about "the Tuareg issues, the need of being recognized by the administration of our country. The Tamasheq language comes from the old traditional Tuareg poetry that tells about the Tuareg tribes, their adventures in the desert, the wars, but also the beauty of the desert and nostalgia of an old time."

The band, who lists their interests as Sahara, tea and music in that order on its website, won a Grammy Award in 2011 for best World Music Album with "Tassili".

How do the band members describe themselves? "Tinariwen are poet-guitarists and soul rebels from the Southern Sahara desert," says a statement on the band's Facebook page. "Their music expresses the aspirations of their people, the Kel Tamashek or 'Touareg' of the southern Sahara desert. The guitar is their weapon. Simplicity is freedom."

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