It’s hard to talk about Tinariwen without delving into the history of the Tuareg people. The nomadic Tuaregs have wandered the Sahara for decades, drifting between Mali, Libya and Niger. The band Tinariwen was founded in a Libyan rebel camp and had its first official performance as a group way back in 1982, taking a break in the early ’90s to be part of a rebellion in Mali. Against incredible odds, the members of Tinariwen have recorded five successful albums and headlined major international festivals. Their music is a mesmerizing blend of Jimmy Hendrix-inspired electric rock and North African traditional music, blended together to create a singular sound that has earned them accolades from every corner of the globe as well as eager collaborators from the musical elite. Tinariwen’s sixth studio album, 2011’s Tassilli, featured Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio, and Wilco’s guitarist, Nels Cline.
Listen: “Tenere Taqqim Tossam”