Tinariwen - Elwan album review: Musical nomads on the move

Thu, Feb 9, 2017, 16:12






Elwan is very definitely the sound of exile. Since their homeland between northern Mali and southern Algeria was over-run by jihadists in 2012, Tuareg musicians Tinariwen have had to travel in search of other abodes to call home.

In the case of their seventh album, the songs were recorded in California’s Joshua Tree Park in 2014 (where previous album Emmaar was born) and, more recently, in southern Morocco. As always, the tones and textures are blue, articulating the musical nomads’ sense of loss and deep trepidation as to what is happening to their desert lands.

There is stunning heart and soul to the sounds of Ibrahim Ag Alhabib and friends (including contributions from Matt Sweeney and Alain Johannes, be it the moody turns on Ténére Taqqal or the gritty blues flying high on Assawt and Tiwayyen. An album which turns the band’s familiar skies and sands into a melancholic and sad-hearted landscape. tinariwen.com