I first heard the rich and unique guitar sound of Tinariwen about 2 years ago on the Putumayo CD “Mali” where I heard the song “Amassakoul ‘N’ Ténéré.” The sound felt somewhat familiar to my western ears with its bluesy rhythm, but there was a lot that was new and left me wanting more. The band is based in Sahara Desert of northern Mali and a part of the nomadic Tamashek tribe (known outside the region as Tuareg or Touareg). Even photos from Tinariwen’s web site left me very curious.
The band really has a unique sound that is a blend of beats and singing typically found in some rai and more traditional forms of Malian music mixed with electric blues.
There are several places to listen and view the band online: