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Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative: Tinariwen

Posted by Amoebite, April 13, 2009 11:43pm | Post a Comment
127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."

- By Scott Butterworth


Coachella Lineup     Tinariwen

Day #24 - Artist #24 - Tinariwen:

It doesn't fail! Tonight is the second night in a row that I have been in bad mood, or a stressed mood or an exhausted mood or any combination of undesirable moods. And as soon as I press play on Tinariwen's recent album, Aman Iman: Water Is Life, my mood instantly takes a 180 degree turn. I have plenty of go-to albums to put me in a good mood or get me excited or motivate me, but this album physically woke me up...instantly! What normally takes a cup of coffee an hour or
Tinariwenso to do, Aman Iman: Water Is Life does in a matter of seconds.

"Tinariwen is a Tuareg group that performs in the Middle Eastern/African style Tishoumaren, similar to artists like Ali Farka Toure or Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; [they] sing mostly in the French and Tamashek languages." I consider myself to be a pretty cultured person...but I'm going to be honest; I have no idea what that description means. But what I do know is that they formed in Mali in 1982 and have released music for 18 years, circulating locally in Africa. The music had a political soul of rebellion and became a voice for the Taureg people, eventually becoming banned in Algeria and Mali. It wasn't until 2001 that Tinariwen gained attention from the Western world with the release of The Radio Tisdas Sessions (2001). Their most recent album, Aman Iman: Water Is Life, released in 2007, introduces us to songs that were actually written as far back as the band's origins in the early '80s, but still sound as if they were born yesterday.
Tinariwen - Aman Iman: Water Is Life
There's just something different about this band's music than what I'm used to with Western popular music (and I would put almost every other band at Coachella into that category). They are a magical band, from a magical land. Tinariwen's music feels like it's made because it has to be, and for no other reason. The album title Water Is Life alludes to the band's foundation of necessity and Tinariwen is the water that their Saharan Desert lacks. If the Sahara Desert is a metaphor for my night, coffee is not the "water" that my soil needs...I think it needs Tinariwen.

I don't feel like I'm listening to a band play music. I feel like I'm listening to life.

"Cler Achel" from the album Aman Iman: Water Is Life (2007):


"Chet Boghassa" from the album Amassakoul (2004):


(To see all the Coachella posts in this series, click here. And thank you to those that commented on previous posts. Please feel free to comment on what you like, don't like, and leave a suggested donation of $10.) 

Relevant Tags

Tinariwen (8), Coachella 2009 (26), Aman Iman: Water Is Life (1), Mali (4), Africa (13), Tuareg (2)