Listen Live Blog ›
Music for kids and their adults
Acoustic, Americana and Roots
Exploring the musical legacy of Prince and beyond
Tinariwen is a Tuareg group that performs a guitar-centric branch of Malian music that, to the untrained ear, is reminiscent of Ali Farka Touré's, but is far more rock-oriented and percussive. All of the band's musicians originate from the southern Sahara; the group's name, meaning "empty places," is a reflection of their land of origin. The band formed in the rebel camps of Colonel Gaddafi, as each of the musicians had been forced from their nomadic lifestyle into involuntary military service. Surrounded by a displaced nation of their peers, Tinariwen forged a new style of music, trading their traditional lutes and shepherd's flutes for electric guitars and drums. The style that resulted was dubbed "Tishoumaren," or "the music of the unemployed." Their music addresses issues such as political awakening, problems of exile, repression of their people, and demands of sovereignty.
Related: Tinariwen perform in The Current studio (2014)