This group was founded by Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, a man who, as a child, witnessed the murder of his father in a Mali uprising and built his first guitar from local garbage. He was trained to fight in wars and revolutions in the 1980s, first in Libya under Muammar Al-Gaddafi and later by one of numerous Tuareg rebel groups. While fighting with the rebels (likely the Popular Front for the Liberation of Niger) Alhabib met other musicians and formed a musical collective meant to publicize the plight of the Tuareg people.
The group began distributing music for free on cassette tapes and their music, now spreading through the Sahara like a pot cloud over a Dead show, began to replace civil war as the main driver in the musicians lives.
After a tentative peace agreement in early 1991, the group, dubbed Tinariwen (people of the desert) by the cassette tape traders, headed to Ivory Coast where they would produce their first studio recording. Over the next 10 years the Tinariwen’s music spread all over Europe and the world, adding to their notoriety and landing them prestigious awards.
Their fifth album, Tassili, was released in 2011 and Tinariwen was featured, along side TV On The Radio, on The Colbert Report in November of the same year. It has been a long journey for the members of this amazing musical collective, give these guys a serious listen. I hear it sounds best on cassette.
[itunes id=”453508844″] Amazon.