The Quietus has an illuminating interview with Tinariwen bassist Eyadou Ag Leche, who opens up about the group’s history, its homeland, and how these have impacted their new album Elwan. The band – which Ag Leche says started as “an open family of poets and musicians who were performing only for their friends and later on for traditional weddings and parties” – has been playing music for nearly four decades, during which it has seen and responded creatively to social and political indignities and upheavals that have impacted the Tuareg people of the Sahara. According to Ag Leche, “Our songs talked about this, about our people, our issues and our dream to return to a time when we were free to travel all over the Sahara without borders or control.”
In addition to making powerful statements of mourning and nostalgia, Tinariwen has also developed a unique style that combines hypnotic guitar lines and polyrhythms with influences from the words of reggae, rock, and blues. Go here to read all about the band’s story, influences, and approach.
Check out the video for “Sastanáqqám” below: