When he was four years old, Ibrahim Ag Alhabib witnessed his father’s execution during the Mali uprisings in 1963. He grew up as a refugee in Algeria, where as a child, he built his own guitar out of a tin can, a stick, and bicycle brake wire. He formed the group Tinariwen in 1979 with Alhassane Ag Touhami and brothers Inteyeden and Liya Ag Ablil in Algeria, playing at weddings and parties. After dabbling in a bit of rebel fighting, the group devoted themselves to music full time following the Mali peace treaty in the 90s.
They have performed on world stages and now count the likes of Carlos Santana, Chris Martin, Bono and The Edge among some of their fans. Since 2001, the group has added several young musicians to the collective giving the group a multi-generational vibe. Tinariwen is music at its most protestant. They highlight issues facing the Taureg people, not with guns or machetes, but through music. To date, the group has released six albums and their fifth, 2011’s ‘Tassili,’ won a Grammy at the 2012 Grammy Awards.
The album was recorded in an Algerian dessert because if you are going to be badass, you might as well go all the way. It was produced by Ian Brennan, who has a history of promoting African music, having worked with the likes of The Mouse Boys and The Zomba Prison Project from Malawi, as well as The Good Ones from Rwanda. Tinariwen are the without a doubt the Sahara Blues kings!
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