TNB Night Owl – Sahara Desert Blues

Tuareg on camels. Image captured by the News Blender.

Berbers have lived in the Sahara Desert since long before Islam made its way to Africa. Nomadic Berber clans still inhabit the territory, which spans parts of Algeria, Libya, Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso. They are the called the Tuareg, the name given to them by early muslim conquerors in the seventh century which may mean ‘rebel’ or ‘the people forgotten by God’ or possibly something else entirely. The clothes they wear to protect their skin from the sun, especially the veils, are often dyed indigo and may stain the skin blue: “Blue People” is another moniker the Tuareg are known by. Goats and camels are an important part of their culture and economy. Unsurprisingly, shepherd is a common occupation among the Tuareg.

Traditional clan music, known as ‘Tuareg music’ has been adapted in the 21st century by the younger generations and incorporated into electrified, amplified, bluesy, rock and roll. Sometimes the sounds are comfortably familiar, other times not so much. Lyrics are always (as far as I can tell so far) always in their native languages. Bandsplaining (a YouTube channel devoted to eclectic music) calls Tuareg, “The Best Guitar Music Today”, and that video is included at the end. All of these groups have recorded multiple tracks (and in some cases multiple albums), but I’ll try to present only one tune from each artist to provide the widest possible variety. [Okay, that attempt failed… I could not choose fewer than three tracks from Tinariwen nor two from Bombino. Truthfully, I could have easily included multi-tracks from all the artists.]

“Imouhagh” by Mdou Moctar (5:50):

“Tenhert” by Tinariwen (5:28):

“Lulla” by Tinariwen (3:11):

“Matadjem Yinmixan” by Tinariwen (5:45):

“Ahoulaguine Akaline” by Bombino (4:04):

“Adinate” by Bombino (4:37):

“Ano Nagarus” by Group Inerane (3:38):

“Tarhanine Tegla” by Afous D’afous (5:59):

“Tinariwen” by Group Anmataff (6:17):

“Imigradan” by Les Filles de Illighadad (5:07):

“The Best Guitar Music Today Is Coming From The Sahara Desert” (7:20):

Question Of The Night: Post some eclectic tunes from off-the-beaten path – no pop music, please.

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About Richard Doud 622 Articles
Learning is a life-long endeavor. Never stop learning. No one is right all the time. No one is wrong all the time. No exceptions to these rules.