Tag Archive for Sahara

GADDAFI AND THE TOUAREG – Love, hate and petro-dollars

Gaddafi

Gaddafi has been buying the affections and fighting skills of the nomadic tribes of the Sahara for a long time. Despite widespread suspicion that Gaddafi only ever helped the Touareg to further his own territorial schemes, many Touareg fear the consequences of his fall from power.

ETRAN FINATAWA – The nomad alliance of Niger

Etran Finatawa

The word ‘nomad’ might make us dream about freedom, but in the southern Sahara it actually describes a man locked in a pitiless and epic struggle against drought, locusts and oblivion. The scrubland of the Azawak, an immense and table-flat plain in the northwestern corner of Niger, is home to two nomadic peoples, the Touareg and the Woodabé, who have been intimate with this daily existential grind for centuries.

Rhissa Ag Ogham RIP

Rhissa Ag Ogham

I just learned that Rhissa Ag Ogham, one time guitarist  and singer with the Touareg group Terakaft, died in a car accident a week ago.   Apparently he was driving back to Tamanrasset from Libya with his father, who also died in the accident.  Rhissa toured Europe with Terakaft back in 2007 and 2008, and played…

The Rough Guide to the Music of the Sahara

Rough Guide to the Music of the Sahara

In terms of music and culture, the Sahara is like an inland sea, where the sounds, tastes and colours of peripheral ‘port’ cities like Marrakesh, Sijilmassa, Timbuktu, Agadez, Ghardaia, In Salah, Ghat, Ghadames, Tunis, Tripoli, Siwa, Cairo, Walata, Chinguetti, Djenné and Kano have mingled for centuries.

Translating Touareg Poetry

Ousmane Tamikrest

I’ve been busy translating the lyrics for the forthcoming album by Tamikrest, the band from north eastern Mali lead by the talented Ousmane Ag Moussa. If you don’t know them already check out their existing album ‘Adagh’. One thing I always suspected but now know for sure is that Ousmane is a really excellent poet.…

TAMIKREST – The coalition, the knot, the future

Tamekrist - New Touareg guitar music

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s Tinariwen who created the path,” declares Ousmane Ag Mossa, frizzy-locked leader of Tamikrest, in a pre-emptive strike against a thousand inevitable questions. “But the way I see it, if younger bands don’t come through, then Touareg music will eventually die. They created the path and now it’s up to us to walk down it and create the future.”

KEL INEDAN – The Touareg blacksmiths

Touareg artisan in Assaghan Association workshops, Tamanrasset.  (c) Andy Morgan

This is an extract from a pamphlet / article / short book (fate will delete as applicable) that I’m writing about the Touareg blacksmith or artisan. It’s a complex subject and I’m approaching in my usual journalistic and non-academic way. This is bound to ruffle some scholarly feathers…an enjoyable sport in itself. I’m writing this…

FESTIVAL IN THE DESERT #2 – Hope through music

Festival Security in 2003.  (c) Kate Morgan.

That’s why the Festivals in the Desert are so important. They give a region previously ravaged by conflict and insecurity the chance to show a peaceful face to the world. They give the chance for the Touareg to prove that far from being bandits, they are a simply another African people in the pressure cooker of enforced modernisation, desperately trying to adapt their millennial nomadic culture to the merciless realities ofa modern globalised world.

TINARIWEN – Sons of the desert

Ibrahim

When Tinariwen launch into one of their songs on one of their good nights, I’m immediately transported to the place they come from. My nostrils prick up to the smell of tea, tobacco and gasoline. The pentatonic drone of the music rolls out the endless line of the desert horizons. The perpetual polyrhythms put wanderlust back into my heart and my feet.