Southern Saharan ensemble Tinariwen’ sound is irrevocably linked to the desert. There are links to the work of legendary Mali musician Ali Farka Toure and as a result vague links to some of great American bluesmen, yet the rhythms are very much steeped in African traditions. It’s possibly folk music, maybe even a new form of laidback trance rock. They’ve plugged in their electric guitars but not bought into the mythical Western bullshit that normally accompanies such actions. They’re using this Western tool for their own ends, influenced by their Toureg traditions and the results couldn’ be more compelling. Their music feels incredibly pure. It’s roots music, protest music, harking back to the Toureg rebellion in Mali, yet it’s also music of hope and joy. You can tell this without understanding a single word. It’s Tinariwen’ third album since being “discovered’ by Justin Adams (Robert Plant’s guitarist), who produced both this and their first album Radio Tisdas Sessions. In the liner notes Adams states that â€œhere was a band that reminded me of why I had chosen my course, a band without artiface,â€ and you can hear this in their music. It’s nothing short of joyous. It cleanses your soul and makes you want to dance. There’ plenty of wailing, handclaps, their distinctive riffing and of course those incredible rhythms. Their music never breaks a canter either, it’s Saharan blues for the red sun – deeply personal music that you could never imagine could be created anywhere else. For this writer Aman Iman was one of the most anticipated releases of the year and whilst they are currently garnering incredible reviews and a large degree of hyperbole, this is one of those rare occasions where you should believe the hype. Aman Iman, or Water Is Life will make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.
Bob Baker Fish