If you are left agape at the untold beauty of the desert, you will be left breathless by how it is described by the Tuareg, whose music informed by the rhythms of their camels. The crackling lyricism of the music’s melodies burns in the warmth of the sun and around the community campfires, where heroic stories may be told, although most often the words sing softly of the blues sung with elemental simplicity, and both sadness and joy by Tamikrest.
Few musicians or groups embody the continuum in the long-held purity of the nomadic tradition of these solitary communities as beautifully as Tamikrest. Led by Ousmane Ag Mossa, a fine guitarist who is as influenced by the rhythm of the wind and the changing dunescapes, the loping strides of the camel as much as he is by the music of Jimi Hendrix. This is hardly surprising if you subscribe to the view that somehow Jimi Hendrix communed with the the African musician in the ineffable mysticism of his lyric: “Excuse me while I kiss the sky…”
The music of Tamikrest on Kidal – the name of the town from where they come is both a cry of suffering and a rebel yell. There is a searing intensity behind “Mawarniha Tartit”, wailing slide guitar from Paul Salvagnac on “Atwitas”, and a full-blooded roar from Ag Mossa on “Adoutat Salilagh”. The music of Tamikrest sings of a passion for the Tuareg and the centuries of injustice they have endured. “Kidal talks about dignity,” Ag Mossa says. “We consider the desert as an area of freedom to live in. But many people consider it as just a market to sell to multinational companies, and for me, that is a major threat to the survival of our nomadic people.”
The music on the album has deep roots in the Tuareg tradition, which burns with a brilliant, eternal flame. “My love is my country, my ambition is freedom,” Ag Mossa sings on “War Tila Eridaran,” a proud Tuareg manifesto. It’s the blues of a people who endure the ignomany of their lonely struggles almost every single day. The music is modern, but in its depths it adhers to the schematics of slow-burning Tuareg music. Ag Mossa punctuates his lyrics with the frequent thunderbolt on guitar and there’s elemental beauty in sinuous rumble of bass and drum.
The music is old and new, imbued with influences as diverse as Hendrix, Rachid Taha and flamenco. But at its heart this is music by Tamikrest, it is the music of its people and the music of Sahel Africa and the Maghreb and the heart of a people who live there, especially in Kidal.
Track List: 1: Mawarniha Tartit; 2: Wainan Adobat; 3: Manhouy Inerizhan; 4: War Toyed; 5: Atwitas; 6: Tanakra; 7: War Tila Eridaran; 8: Ehad Wad Nadorhan; 9: Erres Hin Atouan; 10: Adoutat Salilagh; 11: Adad Osan Itibat.
Tamikrest are: Ousmane Ag Mossa: vocals, lead guitar and acoustic guitar; Aghaly Ag Mohamedine: djembe and backing vocals; Cheick Ag Tiglia: bass, acoustic guitar and backing vocals; Paul Salvagnac: lead & rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar and slide guitar; Nicolas Grupp: drums and percussion.
Record Label: Glitterbeat Records
Release date: March 2017
Running time: 44:48
Buy Tamikrest’s music: amazon