Tinariwen – Emmaar


I found myself listening to Tinariwens latest offering 'Emmaar' in the dark, due entirely to my own unwillingness to get up and turn on a light. Of course, when you write your reviews out by hand, light is generally somewhat necessary. But I digress…


Sitting in a near pitch black room, headphones blasting away, I found myself feeling as though I had become lost in a desert wilderness, full of enough banned substances to qualm a small horse. The immersive rhythms and enticing harmonies floating around in my head – I had not a care in the world other than how I was going to get home when my adventure ended. Maybe Im pushing the metaphor a bit far. Nevertheless, the combination of catchy, fluctuating riffs alongside a wealth of rhythmic delights make this album an essential listen if you have any sense of cultural intrigue.


Tinariwen have had their fair share of chops and changes but their sound seems to have remained uncompromisingly pure throughout the bands lifetime, though what else would you expect from musicians from the Sahara Desert? Mixing their native musical timbres and harmonies with more western folk and blues sounds, the group have such a unique appeal, its a shame that they arent more of a household name.


Before you know it, voices are coming at you from all corners of the aural spectrum (actually, I always imagined it as round, but corners seems to fit). If youre not a fan of this album after the first couple of tracks, you might as well give the rest of it a miss. Its full of character and, if like me, you like anything with an authentic African sound, give it a few listens. Immerse yourself in the desert sound.


Ciarán Steward


Tinariwen have now revealed the video for 'Islegh Taghram Tifhamam' which you can watch below.