Tinariwen: Blues Power from the Sahara (Concert Review)

2.1.2018 by Engin Altunlu

More than just a band, Tinariwen are storytellers for their people’s history and voices for their political situation; their music, like their culture, is borderless.

Formed among the Toureg people from the Sahara, its members have at various times been from Mali, Libya, and Algeria. Their music fuses influences from traditional Toureg music, Malian guitar music, and other styles from West Africa and the Sahel region. But it also shows a fair amount of American blues, reggae and other western styles. It's local and universal a the same time.

Tinariwen became internationally known around the year 2000 after releasing their first record The Radio Tisdas Sessions and their performances in big African and European festivals. The band won the 54th Grammy Award for Best World Music album for their album Tasilli.

The Bbop team got a privileged view of their concert at la BAM in Metz.

Founder Ibrahim Ag Alhabib doesn’t always play with the group these days, but he was on the stage with his very exotic voice for nearly the entire show.

Watching bass player Eyadou Ag Lech is hypnotizing. He has a very interesting technique and he’s a groovy player with simple but efficient riffs and grooves. With the blues sound on the guitars and nice chords along with the groove, we were transported to a different world. No need to ask any questions, just feel the good vibes and dance!

The hall was completely full with all ages, everyone dancing or watching the show hypnotized. Once again, we saw the power of music to gather everyone in harmony, even if it was coming from a completely different culture, from another continent and in a language that we don’t understand. The vibes and feelings created a connection between us.

If you still don’t know Tinariwen then we hope this article will help you discover something new.  Check their tour dates and don’t miss them if they play near you!

Thanks for the organization in La BAM, and special thanks to our Photographer Wendy Develotte.