Dubbed "music's true rebels" by NPR, Tinariwen’s Sahel blues is as real and as raw as it gets.
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From the dusty sand dunes of the Saharan desert to the balmy beaches of LA, Tinariwen’s trajectory has been nothing short of astonishing. Hailing from Mali (but formed as refugees during exile in Libya), the Tuareg band—or collective, rather—has won over audiences far beyond the borders of its home continent with its infectious music—music of defiance in the face of despair. The group, whose name means “Empty Spaces” in its native Tamashek tongue, certainly has a compelling story. Descendants of the nomadic Kel Tamashek a.k.a. Tuareg people, their narrative is one of rebellion, guns, and guitars (and Gadhafi), with Slate claiming the group were "rock 'n' roll rebels whose rebellion, for once, wasn't just metaphorical.” While their tale is one for the books, the group’s music is the headline – and has so much substance it has been able to transcend genres and defy classification as a 5-minute novelty act. Their music—comprised of swirling tempos, fluttering guitars, pulsating percussion, cyclonic distortion, and hypnotic chants—is earthy, yet spectral; rattling with restlessness, Tinariwen’s Sahel blues is as real and as raw as it gets.