Published Feb 07, 2014Celebrating their 35th year as a musical collective, Tinariwen's music seems to touch on even stronger themes of persistence and achievement on Emmaar. Forced to flee their homeland due to political strife in Northern Mali, these eight Tuareg musicians from the Sahara decided to record their sixth LP in the more stable deserts of Joshua Tree, California. Mixed by Jack White-approved engineer Vance Powell and featuring guest appearances from Saul Williams, Matt Sweeney of Chavez and Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, it's no surprise that Emmaar comes off as Tinariwen's most commercial and 'Western' sounding album to date.
But for all of the bells and whistles put into their latest, this 11-track collection is at times a sombre and reflective affair. Tracks like "Toumast Tincha" and "Timadrit in Sahara" finds the army of guitarists moving past their fellow desert blues artists (Bassekou Kouyate, Amadou & Miriam) and into more ethereal, textural territory. A band that could forever rely on their fascinating back-story and critical adoration alone, Tinariwen strives for much more on Emmaar.
Read an interview with Tinariwen here. (Anti)