Tinariwen – Emmaar

Here go the pertinents on Tinariwen, because no matter how long they’re around (they formed in 1979), our favorite Malian rebels will always need thorough introduction on this side of the Atlantic. They sing in Tamashek, the language of the Tuareg nomads, though French is the official language of Mali. Their name means “deserts.” They wear robes called boubous, which aren’t particularly helpful to the western eye (three or four of the members like to have their faces almost entirely covered; on the other hand, mustachioed frontman Ibrahim Ag Alhabib reliably has the showiest, shiniest boubous). But on their seventh international album, Emmaar, recorded in Joshua Tree, California, the slithery Sahara-dwellers again prove they’re one of our great non-English-speaking bands. Ostensibly political without sounding like it needs Constance Garnett-levels of translation, it’s wash-over music, almost background music, partly but not all because it sounds every bit as distant as it is.

Release Date
February 11, 2014
Label
Anti-
Formats
digital, vinyl, cd
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