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Orphans of the Sahara

Tamikrest: Struggle through song

Using a mix of desert blues and western rock, the Tuareg band sings about the challenges facing their people.

Last updated: 08 Jan 2014 14:15
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The Tuareg band Tamikrest [Photo courtesy of Tamikrest]

Tamikrest, a noted Tuareg blues band, emerged from the Sahara to open up new paths between desert blues and Western rock.

Since the release of the band's first album in 2009, Tamikrest has grown in strength and popularity, fusing strong beats with melodies sublimated by djembes and calabashes; burning-hot guitars with intimate laments.

The group has achieved recognition, even internationally, but feels this success is not an end in itself. Their leader Ousmane Ag Mossa says the real issue goes far beyond any notion of artistic achievement:

"Even if our music gives me a better life and a little comfort, so long as my people are marginalised and persecuted, it has no value .... Over the years, nothing really gets any better in Kidal. Come and see how we live; this isn't Bamako, it's another world. Nobody invests in the development of this town; 90 percent of young people are unemployed," he said in an interview in 2011.

A few months later, Kidal became one of the strategic strongholds of armed Islamist groups. The peace-loving young Tuaregs of Tamikrest regret this all the more, since their songs have always expressed the sufferings of their people and their struggle for recognition of their identity.

Regarding the recent war that has ravaged northern Mali, Ousmane never mentions victory or defeat, but only the wrench it represents for his community. Tamikrest hopes to transform all these struggles into music, singing in Tamasheq, the local Tuareg language.

As the lyrics of one of their songs 'Tisnant an Chatma' says: "Who can understand the suffering in the soul of one who sees his sisters exhausted by the constraint of living within borders, in deep pain and with daily oppression?"

Tamikrest's music is featured in the Al Jazeera film Orphans of the Sahara. For more on the band, visit their official website: www.tamikrest.net 

Listen

Orphans of the Sahara can be seen each week from January 9, 2014, at the following times GMT: Thursday: 2000; Friday: 1200; Saturday: 0100; Sunday: 0600; Monday: 2000; Tuesday: 1200; Wednesday: 0100.

Watch more Orphans of the Sahara

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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