Tag Archives: Tinariwen

Tuareg Rock Band Tinariwen Will Not Be Silenced

Tinariwen

Photos by Marie Planeille

In some ways, the members of Tinariwen were like any other teenagers anywhere in the world: They first picked up guitars back in the early ‘80s, when they were still adolescents; they penned some emotional and confessional lyrics; and they formed a band. But in other ways, the members of Tinariwen were very different. Founding members Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, Hassan Ag Touhami, and Inteyeden Ag Ableline belong to the Tuareg tribe, who had been exiled to southern Algeria by the Malian government in the early ’60s. Furthermore, aside from being in a band, they were also freedom fighters, trained by Qaddafi’s military in Libya to liberate their traditional homeland at the turn of the ’90s. Only after many years of struggle, bloodshed, and finally a short-lived peace were Tinariwen able to focus on music full-time. Ag Ablil passed away in 1994, but in the 21st century, the band has enjoyed unprecedented success in the West and around the world, finding fans and collaborators in the likes of Robert Plant, Kurt Vile, TV on the Radio, and more. 

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The Tanzania Albinism Collective Turn Personal Pain Into Emotional Soul

Tanzanian Albinism Collective

Photo by Marilena Delli.

A delicate, hypnotic voice opens White African Power, the first album by Tanzania Albinism Collective, setting the tone for a record built equally on raw vocals, and lyrics that speak candidly of personal tragedy. “The world is hard, and I’m feeling defeated,” singer Christina Wagulu laments in Swahili. “Hatred, jealousy, and other emotions damage my heart / Disease weighs me down like defeat.”

The album’s 23 short songs create an atmosphere intimacy—as if the listener were eavesdropping on a gathering of friends. Far away from those who have shunned and persecuted them, the musicians are unguarded; they sing about the adversity they’ve faced without wallowing in self-pity. Their music is visceral, cathartic, and deeply personal.

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