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Tinariwen - Aman Iman

Aman Iman


World Village Music -4608067

Available from

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

One of the most hauntingly beautiful discs to grace the changer in a long time. This large band, 13, of Touareg tribe members from Mali has a groove and sound that fuses African rhythms, with the blues and the trance fixation that you hear in John Lee Hooker's music. The band's name, "Tinariwen," or "+10:1" in their alphabet, means "empty place" in the language of the Berbers of the Saharan desert. The band fluctuates in size band depending on where and when they are playing, at home in the desert with many fellow tribesmen around it is an even larger band as everyone tends to sit in. On this disc 4 members are listed, depending on the song, as lead guitarists and lead vocalists, and then picking up acoustic guitar or handclaps when not on lead. The delicate guitar work mostly by Ibrahim Ag Alhabib manages to reflect both the wild desolate stretch of desert and these people inhabit, and is a direct link to the blues played in the delta. Much of the desert reflection comes from the way the backing vocals are used to accentuate the sound and desolation of the vast stretches of the Sahara desert.

Their style of infectious music is being discovered by European audiences, and those in America for their extended long jamming sets and for their graceful and unusual style and they are busy playing festivals. The current disc, Aman Iman,(translates to Water Is Life), is produced by Justin Adams, who is currently a guitarist for Robert Plant's "Strange Sensation." This is the third album for this wonderful group and is even better than the second one.

Track List:

  • Cler Achel
  • Mano Dayak
  • Matadjem Ynmixan
  • Ahimana
  • Soixante Trois
  • Toumast
  • Imidiwan Winakalin
  • Awa Didjen
  • Ikyadarh Dim
  • Tamatant Tilay
  • Assouf
  • Izarharh Tenere

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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