To enter to win two free tickets to see Tinariwen at Grand Central on Thursday, Nov. 10, simply leave a comment on this post. We will announce the winner, chosen at random, on Sunday on the Beached Miami Facebook page.
Tassili is a vast Algerian mountain range with jagged cracking canyons, sloping dunes, and deep valleys. It is known for well-preserved ancient artifacts and prehistoric art dating back to the Neolithic Period. Bordering Libya, Mali, and Niger, the region was much more likely to be featured in National Geographic than Rolling Stone until Tinariwen, the Mali-born rockers who are playing Grand Central on Nov. 10, recorded their fifth album in Djanet, an oasis city founded by the band’s nomadic Touareg ancestors in the Middle Ages.
“Tassili is a place very important for Tinariwen,” says bassist Eyadou Ag Leche, who speaks the native Tamashek language as well as French. (We interviewed Ag Leche via email with the help of a translator.) “Our story began in this part of the Sahara, and, for the last 20 years, the team hasn’t had the occasion to go back before this opportunity to do the record session.”
Tinariwen’s story is legend: The band’s founders, Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, Hassan Ag Touhami, and Inteyeden Ag Ablil, began making music in the late 1970s, a time of terrible drought in Southern Algeria. Drawing on a thirst for water and a hunger for political and cultural freedom, their lyrics channeled the intense suffering of the period and earned them listeners among a generation of exiled Touareg youth for whom the band’s mélange of traditional African music and contemporary Western rock sounded a note of hope in hopeless times.