taken from Tamikrest's website (click for link)
Taken from Tamikrest’s website (click for link)

So here I am with my little 1537 formula and all my rules, breaking them again.  This time to talk about an LP that’s just been released that I haven’t got yet*, Tamikrest Chatma.  As long time devotees will know I have a real thing for desert music in general and music from Mali in particular.  Tamikrest are a young Tuareg band from Northern Mali, who are really stepping out from under the long shadow cast by the mighty, mighty Tinariwen on contemporary Malian music to play their own brand of desert blues.  Here’s the opening track, which almost made me late for work yesterday as I listened to it for the sixth time on the way in.

This is folk music in the purest sense of the term, music of a people and Chatma has been forged in the wake of the troubles of the band’s original home in Kidal – namely the hijacking of the 2012 Tuareg revolt by Islamist factions, who imposed a hardline take on sharia law on a populace who mostly didn’t want it; but don’t listen to me take it here straight from the band themselves (It really is worth reading, as is any article by Andy Morgan).  The subsequent hardships faced by their people are what inform the LP.

Chatma means ‘sisters’ in Tamishek** and the LP is dedicated to the women, who the band see as having suffered the most from the fighting and whose strength in adversity is also celebrated, if not revered here.  Their sound is quite different to Tinariwen’s I think, the same rolling desert sound is there for sure but I hear the urgency of the young in the uptempo roll of ‘Djanegh Etoumast’, with its almost baggy beat and soul revue drumming, it is wonderful stuff.  Interestingly I hear more of a Western influence in Tamikrest’s sound than in any other guitar music I’ve heard from Mali and by that I don’t mean the kind of dilution that keeps snooty musicologists awake at night, but an absorption and a channelling of new ideas into their sound.  I understand that the unlikely duo of both David Gilmour and Mark Knopfler have been mentioned by the band in dispatches and listening to the guitar tone on ‘Assikal’ I get that.


But I won’t bore on about an LP I’ve only just got hold of, I’ll save a proper review until 2018.  Best thing of all though is that I’m off to see Tamikrest play tonight in Leeds – how exciting is that?! I’m rather hoping to be moved, grooved and rocked in equal measure and suspect I will be too.

272 Down (still)

*well not physically, I was hoping it would come in today’s post, but I have the MP3s; great, can’t put humorous Lego on those.

**Tinariwen also have a track called ‘Chatma’ on the Amassokoul LP.

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