Album: Tinariwen, Imidiwan (Independiente)

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The Independent Culture

Recorded deeper in the desert than their previous albums, Imidiwan could be characterised as a return to Tinariwen's roots, had they ever moved that far from them in the first place: certainly, their concerns remain the same, a mixture of revolutionary sermons praising fallen comrades or calling upon their brethren to rise up against oppression, and poetic reflections on life in the desert, such as "Assuf Ag Assuf", in which the land's dark loneliness is offered fellowship as friend rather than foe.

A similar representation is at the heart of "Tenalle Chegret", in which the desert is depicted as searching for freedom and wearied by discord. "The revolution is a long thread," muses Ibrahim Ag Alhabib gnomically, "easily twisted, hard to stretch". The band's ever-broadening heritage is better reflected than on previous albums, with Ibrahim's mystic ruminations and the battle cries of Alhassane and Abdallah joined by equally poetic contributions from Intidao, and Japonais' reflection on time wasted in futility and connivance, "Tamudjeras Assis". But whichever poet takes the lead, the sound remains essentially the same, with the band's waspish tendrils of guitar braiding hypnotically into skeins of subtle strength, a musical metaphor for the power of their fellowship.

Download this: 'Imidiwan Afrik Tendam', 'Tenhert', 'Tenalle Chegret', 'Tamudjeras Assis', 'Assuf Ag Assuf'