08 November 2010

Monday's mp3: Big Desert, Small World

Small world? Definitely. At a small church in Olympia, Washington, I met a man from Niger named Tahir. We got to talking about the election, politics, culture, and ultimately (surprise!) music. Turns out he knows members of one of the Saharan guitar bands I love. So yes, small world.

Meanwhile, I've been listening to another Tuareg band that's had less exposure outside of the desert. Amanar (also known as Amanar de Kidal) has been around since 2005, but they haven't been touring the way other bands have, so they don't have the name recognition of Terakaft, Etran Finatawa, Tamikrest, and big brothers Tinariwen. What they do have is a home-grown authenticity that comes of being the top wedding and party band of the town of Kidal in northern Mali.


The authenticity comes through on their album, recorded in their hometown with a local engineer. No big-name western remixers or guest artists, just real modern traditional music with powerful lyrics about local affairs that have global echoes. On the title track "Alghafiat (Peace)," the band sings about pride and identity:
Other than the Tamacheq from the desert,
Who are the roots of our race,
How many Tuareg are there today?
Some of them left and never came back
Others are dead and don't exist anymore
The remaining ones can be classified as five types:
The first ones are the rebels
The second ones, the poets
The third ones are discouraged of the Tuareg cause
The fourth ones just cling to life
The last ones are the bearers of lies
And worshipers of the word "project"
[mp3] Amanar: Alghafiat
from the album Alghafiat

The album is just out on Reaktion Records, which specializes in Saharan music and tries to bring listeners stereotype-defying information and music while providing the artists a fair compensation for their music. If you're a fan of other desert guitar groups and want to hear a different take on the tradition, be sure to check this out.


Amanar is:
Ahmed Ag Kaedi - Solo Guitar, Vocals
Hamida Ag Fonwa - Rhythm Guitar
Abdourahmane Kamissoko - Bass Guitar, Keyboards
Issmagel Ag Alhouda - Bass Guitar
Tamita Ag Aljimitt - Drums, Vocals on ‘Alghafiat’
Halifa Ag Aljimitt - Djembe
Lahbib ag Bilal - Flute
Lala walet Mohamed - Backing Vocals

More Amanar:
more streaming samples
Reaktion on facebook
myspace
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