Album review: Tinariwen – ‘Imidwan: Companions’

Album review: Tinariwen - 'Imidwan: Companions'


There's much more to Mali than bloody Damon

Mali is arguably the most musically diverse country in Africa. At the other end of the scale from the state-sanctioned virtuoso kora player Toumani Diabate (the star of Damon Albarn’s ‘Mali Music’) are Tinariwen. Their history as Saharan volunteers in a rebel army opposing the government between 1980 and 1996 has certainly given them longevity. However, their music is a relatively mellow and sublimely positive blend of traditional Mandé vibes, blues and rock. Chris Martin has claimed they were an influence on ‘Vida La Vida…’. This might be no more audible than the influence of Ming The Merciless on his piano playing, but suggests that despite their genuine outsider status, they could still become mainstream contenders.

John Doran

Click here to get your copy of Tinariwen’s ‘Imidwan: Companions’ from the Rough Trade shop