Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tinariwen - Taureg-Berber Guitar on Colbert!

As my last post could be described as a bit "middle of the road" featuring as it did Elton John and a Cello duo, I have moved way out to the area where mostly only hard-core fans of the unusual and different reside.

And who better to drag us all way out to left field than Stephen Colbert. Last night flicking through the TV Guide I noticed that Tinariwen were listed as gusts on the Colbert Report. Being familiar with their work I was surprised to see the Taureg-Berber group of musicians listed on a major US show even Colbert. So I had to watch.

So its a "Tip of the Hat" to the Colbert Report for once again managing to be informative, inclusive and above all funny while exposing his audience to people and ideas they will not get anywhere else. His interview with the band members in their full desert garb was great and then the band performed a track from their latest LP.

Then its a "Wag of the Finger" to the Colbert Report. I'm petulantly refusing to give a link to their website "" because once again we run into that infuriating copyright issue that just shows the message "Unavailbale Video" because I have the temerity to live outside the US. I'm not giving up yet but it still seems to be a difficult concept for some people that www stands for WORLD-WIDE-web and the World is bigger than just the cities that play baseball in the "world-series".

The link below will show you what the band looks like and what they sound like. I think you will agree they are not standard prime time fare anywhere (with the possible exception of Mali)

So onto the actual Album. I'll repeat the warning that this is not an album for the casual appreciator of things different and new. But I'll trust that you listen to the samples before laying down any actual money just on my recommendation. This is the first Tinariwen Album I purchased. (and yes there is also a second album in the collection.) It could easily have made it just on the basis of the album cover, the Guitar and Camel motif is unusual to say the least. I was drawn to listen to some tracks on the basis of a review which described the guitar playing as being a unique style. I have to agree, I don't understand a word of the lyrics and to be honest the almost chant like vocals loose their charm after a while but the electric guitar is at the same time familiar and strange/eerie and mesmerising. The image in my mind of the roadies unpacking the camels before each gig just raises the question of which oasis has power available for the amps?

I do have translations for some of the track titles so I'm happy to give you this sample which hints that being a desert nomad in war torn Mali is no bed of roses:-

Track 2 - Oualhia Ar Tesininam (Oh My God, You're Unhappy)
Track 8 - Aldhechen Manin (Tired, I'm Tired)
Track 9 - Alkhar Dessouf (Feeling Worry and Nostalgia)

So none of this Album is on any of my party playlists, but if you are up for something truly different then have a listen.

1 comment: