Formed 1982.
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Tinariwen in session for World on 3

Nazagh Ejbal, Toumast Tincha, Timadrit In Sahara, Sastan Nakham, Chaghaybou

Featured in BBC Music Clips


Tinariwen (Tamasheq: ⵜⵏⵔⵓⵏ, with vowels ⵜⵉⵏⴰⵔⵉⵓⴻⵏ, pronounced tinariwen "deserts", plural of ténéré "desert") is a Grammy Award-winning group of Tuareg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali. The band was formed in 1979 in Tamanrasset, Algeria, but returned to Mali after a cease-fire in the 1990s. The group first started to gain a following outside the Sahara region in 2001 with the release of The Radio Tisdas Sessions, and with performances at Festival au Désert in Mali and the Roskilde festival in Denmark. Their popularity rose internationally with the release of the critically acclaimed Aman Iman in 2007. NPR calls the group "music's true rebels," AllMusic deems the group's music "a grassroots voice of rebellion," and Slate calls the group "rock 'n' roll rebels whose rebellion, for once, wasn't just metaphorical."

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Tissali

    Tissali 2011

    Reviewed by John Doran
    Tinariwen continue to shift perceptions of what ‘world’ music can be.
  2. Review of Imidiwan: Companions

    Imidiwan: Companions 2009

    Reviewed by Michael Quinn
    It hypnotically blends Malian desert blues with twanging guitar-led Tichumaren agit-prop.
  3. Review of Aman Iman: Water Is Life

    Aman Iman: Water Is Life 2007

    Reviewed by Jon Lusk
    As ‘difficult’ third albums go, this disc by the guitar-toting desert blues rebels...
  4. Review of Amassakoul

    Amassakoul 2004

    Reviewed by Jon Lusk
    A polished album from the leading Touareg desert blues band, dominated by...
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