by TinariwenTinariwen


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Decades of cultural displacement, political unrest, and even a kidnapping have somehow failed to dim the spirit of Tinariwen, the long-tenured Saharan desert blues outfit from Northern Mali. Over 30 years into their career and with six albums to their credit, the Tuareg band has maintained a global presence and garnered widespread critical acclaim for its distinctive sound fusing West African assouf traditions with a potent multi-guitar attack. For their seventh album, Elwan, Tinariwen reunited with producer Patrick Votan, who also helmed 2014's dramatic Emmaar. Just prior to Emmaar, the band was exiled from Mali, fleeing from the militant Islamist regime Ansar Dine, who denounced popular music as "Satan's music." With their homeland still in conflict, this album marks the second time the embattled musicians were unable to record on native soil. Captured in France, Morocco, and California, Elwan is a work of subtle power, relying less on the atmospheric grace of its predecessors and focusing on the distilled, fine-tuned engine of Tinariwen's percussive core. Overall, the album's production is more immediate and, with its tasteful contingent of rock-oriented guests like Kurt Vile, Mark Lanegan, Alain Johannes, and Matt Sweeney, the arrangements still remain spare and effective. On the slowly unfurling "Ténéré Tàqqàl," gently snaking riffs belie the tension of the lyrics, which make reference to uprisings, both human and animal. On "Imidiwàn N-Àkall-In," a track full of quietly roiling tension, bandleader Ibrahim Ag Alhabib sings "My own people have abandoned their ancestral ways, all that's left is a groaning land full of old people and children." While there is certainly bitterness throughout Elwan's 13 tracks, there is hope, love, and motivation, too. On the dreamy "Nànnuflày," a spray of smoothly interlocking guitar riffs build as Alhabib and the group deliver a call-and-response to which guest vocalist Lanegan replies "No sleepwalking, don't keep me apart, I'm through sleepwalking, God be in my heart." Exiles, explorers, and seekers of inner truth, Tinariwen once again deliver a vital and engaging album.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/10/2017
Label: Epitaph
UPC: 0045778746729
catalogNumber: 87467
Rank: 17849

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tinariwen   Primary Artist
Saïd Ag Ayad   Background Vocals,Djembe,Hand Clapping,Calebasse
Ibrahim Ag Alhabib   Vocals
Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni   Guitar,Vocals
Elaga Ag Hamid   Guitar,Background Vocals,Hand Clapping
Alhassane Ag Touhami   Background Vocals,Hand Clapping
Eyadou Ag Leche   Bass,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,Hand Clapping,Guembir
Iyad Ben Abderahmane   Electric Guitar
Mina Wallet Oumar   Percussion

Technical Credits

Alain Johannes   Engineer
Patrick Votan   Producer
Justin Smith   Engineer
Andy Morgan   translation
Tinariwen   Producer
Ibrahim Ag Alhabib   Composer
Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni   Composer
Eyadou Ag Leche   Composer
Anara Elmoctar   translation
Hassan Ag Touhami   Composer
Thomas Bunio   Engineer
Assaleck Ag Tita   translation
Moulay El Wafi   Composer

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