News

    07/02/14

    TAMIKREST ‘BEST GROUP’ IN ‘SONGLINES MUSIC AWARDS’

    Tamikrest have won the ‘Best Group’ category in the Songlines Music Awards 2014
Here is a video of Songlines Publishing Ltd magazine’s editor-in-chief, Simon Broughton, announcing the winners of the four categories:

    07/02/14

    OUSMANE AG MOSSA ACCOUSTIC SESSION AT FESTIVAL MUSIQUES METISSES

    A wonderful video of Tamikrest’s Ousmane Ag Mossa playing solo in a park while at Festival Musiques Métisses.

    02/12/14

    TAMIKREST : BACK ON TOUR IN EUROPE

    Tamikrest is back on tour in Europe for 33 concerts between Switzerland, Danemark, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Croatia, Norway, Sweden and France.

    FEB 2014
    14.02. Luzern (CH) – Südpol Luzern
    15.02. Geneve (CH) – Festival Antigel
    18.02. Nürnberg (D) – Der Hirsch
    19.02. Rotterdam (NL) – BIRD
    20.02. Borgerhout (B) – De Roma Vzw
    21.02. Karlsruhe (D) – Kulturzentrum Tollhaus Karlsruhe
    22.02. Fribourg (CH) – La Spirale
    23.02. Cologne (D) – Kölner Philharmonie
    24.02. Heidelberg (D) – Karlstorbahnhof
    27.02. Zagreb (HR) – Vintage Industrial Bar
    28.02. Ottensheim (A) – Gasthof zur Post

    MAR 2014
    05.03. Husum (D) – Speicher Husum
    06.03. Aalborg (DK) – Studenterhuset
    07.03. Oslo (NO) – Cosmopolite Scene
    08.03. Gothenborg (SE) – Kulturhuset
    09.03. Aarhus (DK) – VoxHall
    12.03. Tilburg (NL) – Poppodium 013
    13.03. Trier (D) – TUFA Trier
    17.03. Wiesbaden (D) – Schlachthof Wiesbaden
    18.03. Koblenz (D) – Cafe Hahn
    21.03. Questembert (F) – Centre Culturel
    23.03. Düsseldorf (D) – tanzhaus nrw
    25.03. Dortmund (D) – Konzerthaus Dortmund
    (SAHARA SOUL w/Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba, Sidi Touré)
    26.03. Bremerhaven (D) – Pferdestall Bremerhaven
    27.03. Wolfsburg (D) – Hallenbad – Kultur am Schachtweg
    28.03. Münster (D) – Gleis 22
    29.03. Luxembourg (L) – Philharmonie Luxembourg
    (SAHARA SOUL w/Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba, Sidi Touré)
    30.03 Amsterdam (NL) – North Sea Jazz Club
    31.03. Utrecht (NL) – Tivoli De Helling

    APR 2014
    02.04. Reutlingen (D) – Kulturzentrum franz.K Reutlingen
    03.04. Lörrach (D) – Burghof Lörrach
    (SAHARA SOUL w/Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba)
    04.04. Copenhagen (DK) – Global Copenhagen
    06.04. Paris (F) – Festival Chorus des Hauts de Seine (@Le Dome)

    Tour

    Tourdates upcoming in summer 2016

    Releases

    Tamikrest-Taksera

    Taksera

    Release Date: 04/18/2015

    Format: LP/DL

    Cat-No: GRLP 022

    BUY

    Side A:
    1. Tisnant An Chatma
    2. Tamiditin
    3. Fassous Tarahnet
    4. Itous

    Side B:
    1. Achaka Achail Aynaian Daghchilan
    2. Outamachek
    3. Aratan N Tinariwen
    4. Arantane N’ Adagh

    “Taksera” (which in Tamashek means ‘a celebration with music’) is a rough and ready live album that is sure to give jolt to Tuareg-rock group Tamikrest’s already heady reputation. Recorded on a summer festival stage during their 2014 “Chatma” tour, the album vividly showcases the visceral and improvisational power of the band. The hypnotic grooves of the songs are blissfully extended, and the band’s signature drive and electric guitar telepathy are pushed up front and center.

    The material on “Taksera” visits all three of the band’s acclaimed studio albums and gives a sharply focused argument as to why in the last few years Tamikrest has been one of the most lauded young bands from the African continent. Their 2013 album Chatma reached the #1 position on the World Music Charts Europe and graced year-end “best of” lists at Uncut, Mojo, Les Inrocks and The Quietus. Songlines magazine went even farther and gave them their “Best Group Award” for 2013.

    “Taksera” was engineered and mixed by Jean-Paul Romann, who has produced seminal albums by Tuareg music legends Tinariwen and Terakaft. The album was recorded at the Burg Herzberg Festival in Alsfeld, Germany on August 1, 2014.

    This RECORD STORE DAY LP is a limited edition pressing of 1500 on 180-gram audiophile vinyl with a gatefold sleeve and download code.

    “Taksera” is in every way the celebration that the album title promises. It energetically underlines Tamikrest’s unique cultural mission and their commitment to explore new possibilities for Tuareg music. It shows a band full of hard-earned confidence and swagger; a band in love with turning up their amps and letting it rip.

    Tamikrest-Chatma

    Chatma

    Release Date: 09/13/2013

    Format: CD/LP(+CD)

    Cat-No:GBCD 007

    BUY




    01. Tisnant an Chatma
    02. Imanin bas zihoun
    03. Itous
    04. Achaka Achail Aynaian daghchilan
    05. Djanegh etoumast
    06. Assikal
    07. Toumast anlet
    08. Takma
    09. Adounia tabarat
    10. Timtar

    Tamikrests’s new album “Chatma”, their third, deftly navigates these experiences and fashions them into a fully persuasive and poetic musical document. The album is filled with sober reflection, moral indignation, musical experimentation, cultural celebration and the kick of rock and roll.

    “Chatma” is also Tamikrest’s first album to be wholly written around a defined theme. In Tamashek “Chatma” means “Sisters” and the band has dedicated the album in their own words to: “the courage of the Tuareg women, who have ensured both their children’s survival and the morals of their fathers and brothers.”
    The opening track “Tisnant an Chatma (The suffering of my sisters)” is a heartbreaking homage: «Who can estimate the
    suffering felt by the soul / of one who sees her sisters exhausted from waiting/ of one who sees her sisters exhausted from
    waiting between countries, in deep distress /and daily oppression?«

    Fittingly for an album so lyrically evocative, “Chatma“ also delivers Tamikrest’s most wide-screen and wide-ranging sonic statement to date. The infectious, sing-along rock stylings of “Imanin bas zihoun“, the acoustic seduction of “Adounia tabarat”, the Pink Floyd influenced montage “Assikal” and the lush, melancholy ambiance of the albums finale, “Timtar”, all add up to a sustained audio adventure. Echoes of dub, blues, psychedelia, funk and even art-rock are seamlessly weaved by Tamikrest into their increasingly individual take on the Tuareg musical tradition.
    And on an album where the title translates as “Sisters”, it makes perfect sense that this time around we hear the full emergence of
    the haunting voice of female vocalist Wonou Walet Sidati in tandem with lead vocalist Ousmane Ag Mossa. A new guitarist, Paul Salvagnac has also joined the band, bringing with him fresh textures and possibilities.

    tamikrest_toumastin

    Toumastin

    Release Date: 04/22/2011

    Format: CD/LP

    Cat-No: GRCD 721

    BUY

    1. Tizarate
    2. Fassous Tarahnet
    3. Nak Amadjar Nidounia
    4. Aratan N Tinariwen
    5. Ayitma Madjam
    6. Aidjan Adaky
    7. Addektegh
    8. Tarhamanine Assinegh
    9. Nak Akaline Tinza (Tinzaouatene)
    10. Tidit
    11. Dihad Tedoun Itran

    Music always is a borderline experience. Especially when not only stylistically boundaries are shifting, but the centres of musical creativity are moving.

    It certainly would be an exaggeration to state that cities like London and New York, Manchester and Los Angeles have played itself out, but certain symptoms of fatigue are visible in the steady process of looking for ‘the next big thing’. So it is a breath of fresh air that a country like Mali is offering new musical possibilities. Mali-based pop stars like Amadou & Mariam, Salif Keita, Habib Koité or Tinariwen, just like the legend of Desert Blues, the late Ali Farka Touré, have moved beyond the boundaries of just World Music fans. Mali is a huge West African country that combines various languages and cultures, different races and traditions. If one hears music with open ears, one can’t ignore Mali.

    But there are not only the big stars that have proved themselves in Europe and the United States – more and more new bands are making themselves known. One of the young and upcoming bands is Tamikrest, who are about to release their second album called “Toumastin”. Their debut album “Adagh” already generated a buzz throughout the world and was met with enthusiam from fans and critics alike who agreed that these young musicians are focusing the rebellious power of rock music in their own special way.

    Tamikrest are from Kidal, a remote desert town in the northwest of the Sahara, some 2,000 kilometres north of the capital Bamako. The band members are all Tuaregs, a group of people that is spread all over North and some of West Africa, i.e. Niger, Mali, Algeria, Burkina Faso and Libya. In ancient times the Tuareg were the proud rulers of the Sahara, but their territory was divided in different countries and they had to fight long and hard for independence. Between 1990 and 1995 this fight evolved into a bloody civil war.

    After the war many of the rebel fighters traded the Kalashnikovs and hand grenades for guitars and microphones. The band Tinariwen is the most prominent example for the unusual establishment of peace through the spirit of music. But their mission is carried further in their songs. The members of Tamikrest are substantially younger than Tinariwen’s and they have not actively fought in the war, but there is a close resemblance between both bands. Just like Tinariwen Tamikrest have found a way to translate the pulse of the Blues – whose roots lie in North Africa – back to the Tuareg language Tamaschek. They take generators deep into the desert to have electricity for their guitars in search for the perfect synthesis of their traditional ritual drumming with the music of Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley.

    Tamikrest’s leader Ousmane Ag Mossa is quick to admit his influences: “When I was young I listened to a lot of traditional Tuareg music as well as Tinariwen. There was no other music. I started to learn the guitar around that time and it was only in 2000 that I had access to cassettes of Bob Marley and Dire Straits. That changed my musical vision completely and I stopped to classify music. Music is just music, no matter where it comes from. Music is just too big for me to comprehend in its entirety. My goal is to broaden my horizon step by step.”

    Tamikrest are on a trip into the infinite world of music. When the band was founded in 2006 they had a hard time getting exposure in their homeland as it proved to be difficult for music with ancient traditions in a country that is flooded with Western-influenced hip-hop and pop. Things changed abruptly when they played the Festival Au Desert in 2008 and met with the American/Australian band Dirtmusic made up of Chris Eckman (Walkabouts), Chris Brokaw (Come) and Hugo Race (Hugo Race & True Spirit). Ousmane talks about the fateful meeting: “We jammed in tents, open air in the desert sand and on stage. This has extended my musical knowledge tremendously and from that point on I played my guitar in a different way. Through Dirtmusic we had the chance to work in a professional studio for the first time. There was no way had we would let that opportunity pass, so we travelled the long way from Kidal to Bamako.”

    With their second album “Toumastin” the young Tuareg rebels create their own universe using even brighter colours. The enchanted ancient mystique of the songs captures the ear immediately, but as the music carries on the band bridges the gap between the African Blues and hypnotic dub, psychedelic funk and an almost supernatural kind of desert garage. The guitars are more offensive, the groove deepens and the Tamaschek chants are merging with the meandering guitar riffs like a caravan voyage through ancient times. Tamikrest are ready to embrace the future while proudly maintaining the rich tradition of their folk.

    tamikrest-adagh

    Adagh

    Release Date: 02/22/2010

    Format: CD/LP

    Cat-No: GR 703

    BUY

    01. Outamachek 3:25
    02. Aicha 3:19
    03. Amidini 4:17
    04. Tamiditin 3:40
    05. Aratane 5:12
    06. Tidite Tille 3:53
    07. Tahoult 4:14
    08. Alhoriya 3:28
    09. Ahar 3:09
    10. Adounia Mahegagh 3:32
    11. Toumastin 4:24

    As far as I’m concerned, it’s Tinariwen who created the path,” declares Ousmane Ag Mossa, frizzy-locked leader of Tamikrest, in a pre-emptive strike against a thousand inevitable questions. “But the way I see it, if younger bands don’t come through, then Touareg music will eventually die. They created the path and now it’s up to us to walk down it and create the future.”

    Ousmane was born twenty-seven years ago in a village called Tin-Zaouaten, a solitary speck squeezed up against Mali’s northeastern border with Algeria. It’s a remote marginal place. Or to put it another way: there’s distant, there’s remote and beyond both of those there’s Tin-Zaouaten.

    To an outsider, the village would appear to be nothing more than a motley collection of one storey adobe and breeze-block houses, huddling together for protection against the burning sun, the black rocky hills and the lonely immensity of the surrounding desert. But to Ousmane, it’s home.

    Like its ‘neighbour’ Tessalit, two hundred and fifty kilometres to the west, Tin-Zaouaten is blessed with a water table that lurks benignly just below the surface of the gritty soil. Dig a few metres and you can usually find water in abundance. That’s why Tin-Zaouaten, or ‘Tinza’ for short, is famed in the desert for its gardens and garden produce. Ousmane’s father Mossa was born a nomad out in the bush, but by the time Ousmane arrived he had settled in Tinza, making a living from growing onions, beetroot, carrots and dates, and selling them in the local markets.

    In 1985 drought shook desert life to its core. The rains had failed for several seasons and the village was haunted by famine. “I was born in a time of calamity,” says Ousmane. “In the middle of dreadful events for the Touareg people. My parents knew so much hardship. Then when I was five years old the rebellion broke out. It was 1990, the year of war. I was a child, and I used to hide in amongst the rocks with the other women and children, just a few kilometres north of the village over the Algerian border. When I think of that time, it’s as if it’s all still happening in front of me.”

    Thus Ousmane’s childhood was buffeted by the searing winds of recent Touareg history. The droughts of ‘68 to ’74 almost destroyed the animal herds and with them the ancient nomadic way of life of the Touareg. The drought of ’84 to ’85 almost dealt the final blow. Thousands of young men fled into exile in Algeria, Libya, Burkina Faso and beyond. That’s where the modern Touareg guitar style of music was born and then nourished by anger, homesickness, frustration and dreams of a better life. It was this generation of Touareg men, known as the ishumar, who returned to Mali and Niger in 1990 to rebel against the callousness, corruption and arrogance of the governments in the distant capitals of Bamako and Niamey.

    At first Ousmane just listened to traditional Touareg music at home, and the newer guitar music on battered old cassettes. “I well remember hearing my first Tinariwen songs. I was about five. After the death of my mother, my father was obliged to take me to live with my grown-up sister. One morning I was sitting in front of the house and this guy walked by singing a song by Inteyeden called ‘Imidiwan Kel Hoggar’ (‘My Friends the Hoggar People’). It went straight into my brainha ha ha.”

    A few years later Ousmane began to play the guitar himself, and write songs. He was attending a school in Tinza called Les Enfants de l’Adrar, set up by a French NGO and a local man turned community leader called Hama Ag Sid Ahmed. At the end of every school year the children would create and perform musical plays about pressing themes like ignorance, drought, education and culture.

    Hama bought the school an acoustic guitar, and Ousmane adopted the instrument. With his constant friend Cheikh Ag Tiglia, he would write songs and perform them at the school shows. He learned the Tamashek guitar style by listening to a particular cassette which Tinariwen’s leader Ibrahim ‘Abaraybone’ had recorded in Algeria back in 1998.

    In 2002, events once again undermined the tenuous calm and stability in Tinza. The village was home to one of the southern desert’s most infamous freedom fighters and warlords, Ibrahim Ag Bahanga. For this reason it became a military no-go zone. Ousmane’s father left to live with his eldest sons in Libya, and both Ousmane and Cheikh went south to Kidal

    Kidal is the capital of the far north east of Mali, a region known as the Adagh des Iforas (‘The Mountains of the clan Iforas’). With its wide sandy streets and dispersed one storey earthen houses, Kidal has the feel of a frontier town. For the Adagh Touareg, it’s where it all happens.

    Ousmane and Cheikh played the guitar and sang in hidden corners of Kidal, around a fire, drinking bittersweet Touareg tea with their friends. Their reputations grew very slowly, steadily, without wild leaps or fanfares. After a while they heard that a local cultural centre called the DDRK or ‘Maison du Luxembourg’, founded by the Duchess of Luxembourg who had fallen in love with the town when she visited it in 2001, was offering music classes. The teacher turned out to be Juhan Ecaré, a musician from Ivory Coast.

    Then this French theatre troupe called La Calma arrived in town and enrolled over fifty young people to perform a massive theatre piece featuring sketches about a host of local issues. It went down a storm in January 2006 at a local festival called ‘The Saharan Nights of Essouk’. Although Ousmane didn’t take part in the project, claiming disinterest in theatre (“I’m a musiciantheatre’s not my thing”), Cheikh went along and played with a local percussionist called Aghaly Ag Mohammedine and a bass player called Ibrahim Ahmed, aka ‘Pinnochio’ or ‘Pino’ for short.

    On their return, Pino proposed that they form a proper band and record a demo at a small studio, which had been set up at the Maison du Luxembourg. They also decided that they needed a name, and agreed on ‘Tamikrest’, which means the knot, the junction, the coalition, in Tamashek, the language of Touareg. “Each of us came from a different place, a different zone,” explains Ousmane. “Cheikh and I from Tinza. Aghaly and Mossa Maiga from Kidal. Pino from Gao. But we found each other and we had the same ideas, the same intentions. We were like a coalition.”

    On the 23rd May 2006, the army garrison in Kidal was attacked by a new Touareg rebel movement called the Alliance Démocratique pour le Changement (ADC). “It was a hard time for me,” remembers Ousmane. “I woke up early that morning and discovered that the town had turned into a nightmare. Those who wanted to join the rebels had already done so. But, in general, that wasn’t the choice of me and my friends. Because we’d never been in the army. We were musicians, not people who carry arms.”

    By the end of the year a fragile peace had been restored, although Tinza’s recalcitrant son Ibrahim Ag Bahanga refused to compromise and remained on the run with his own splinter militia. Tamikrest performed at the peace Forum in March 2007, when the Touareg rebels met with the Malian government and thousands of community representatives in Kidal to map out a way forward.

    The group were developing their style and their fan base, which consisted mainly of Kidal’s younger generation. They knew the Tamashek guitar style intimately, but they were also deeply into rap, metal, Maghrebi pop and afro-disco music from Ivory Coast. They had new tastes, new desires, new ambitions and Tamikrest was their band.

    Pino was quite a mover and shaker. In late 2007 he contacted Manny Ansar, the director of the now world-famous Festival in the Desert and clinched a gig for Tamikrest. The band found the money to transport themselves the 600 miles eastward to Timbuktu. In the silky dunes of Essakane they met Dirtmusic, a group of rock’n’roll veterans from the USA and Australia. It was one of those meetings fashioned by fate in the workshops of destiny.

    Chris Eckman of Dirtmusic remembers the meeting thus: “On our first morning in Essakane we woke up hearing music, so we went across the sand to the tent opposite ours and that’s where Tamikrest was playing. Chris Brokaw grabbed his dobro and headed over, then Hugo and I eventually did the same and basically for three days we didn’t leave.”

    Once again music overflew all barriers of language, culture, style, shyness and reticence. The friendship formed at Essakane grew in the following months and lead to an invitation by Dirtmusic to come to the Malian capital Bamako to make an album, and contribute to Dirtmusic’s own oeuvre. After another epic journey of 1,200 miles, by car and bus, Ousmane, Aghaly and crew entered their first professional studio and ‘Adagh’ was born.

    “It felt very natural to play with Dirtmusic,” asserts Ousmane. “I’ve always appreciated all kinds of different music and it was such a pleasure to play with a different kind of band. Music isn’t something you study; it’s something you learn with your ears. I’d been listening and playing along to Bob Marley, to Marc Knopfler and Dire Straits, to Tinariwen for years. We’d been listening to so much international music and that’s why the marriage with Dirtmusic worked.”

    The end of 2009 finds Tamikrest on the cusp of the world and the next chapter in their great adventure. “This opportunity to go to Europe feels like a big responsibility,” says Ousmane. “I feel like someone who’s done this exam and is now waiting for the result. We’ve already achieved quite a bit, but the hardest is still ahead.”

    One thing is certain: Ousmane is clear about the band’s mission. “The situation of the Touareg is very difficult right now,” he declares. “Even before I played the guitar and started recording, I had this ambition to be a lawyer or you might say, an ‘advocate’. I wanted to be capable of expressing the hurt I felt in my heart, and speak out about the situation, even at the United Nations. Because we’re a people who don’t have journalists, we don’t have advocates. But it was only later that I realised that a musician can play that role.”

    “What is the weakest part of any nation or people? It’s ignorance. We are stuck in our ignorance. I see the world changing, racing ahead, and leaving us behind. And the only thing that is holding us back is our ignorance. As artists, it’s our duty to make our problems known to the world, to sing songs about the nomadic life, about our traditions and culture. But above all, revolutionary songs, about what we see, about what the government is doing to our people, which makes no sense to me.”

    There it isTamikrest, the knot, the coalition, the future.

    Andy Morgan

    Video

    Sounds

    Tamikrest – Aratan N Tinariwen
    Tamikrest – Imanin bas zihoun
    Tamikrest – Tisnant an Chatma
    Tamikrest – Outamachek

    Store

    Tamikrest is one of the best blues bands to come out of the Sahara.

    Ever since the release of their first album, ‘Adagh’, in 2009, they have been regarded as the spearhead of the new Tuareg generation; these legitimate heirs of Tinariwen have long been opening up new paths between desert blues and Western rock.
    This third album reminds us of that, with, in turn, strong beats in ‘Djanegh Etoumast’, then melodies sublimated by djembes and calabashes (‘Adounia Tabarat’). And there are sandstorms traversed by burning-hot guitars (‘Itous’), then intimate laments, resounding in the freezing-cold nights of the desert (‘Timtar’).
    In the studio, the German Chris Eckman of the Glitterbeat label, who has been the group’s accomplice since they began recording, channels their spirit in the excellent ‘Tisnant an Chatma’, before reproducing a sort of desert dub on the slow, heavenly ‘Assikal’.
    Who could affirm, after listening to these ten intense pieces, that Tuareg blues is not now being excitingly renewed? Tamikrest has been honing its unique and singular style since 2006, and ‘Chatma’ is the ultimate outcome.
    This album wil be taking them on a tour of European capitals this year (they will be in Paris at La Maroquinerie on 15 October).
    But recognition, even as far as the West, is not an end in itself for the group. Their leader Ousmane Ag Mossa reminds us that 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; ninety per cent of young people are unemployed.’
    Those were Ousmane’s words in an interview back in 2011. A few months later, Kidal became one of the strategic strongholds of radical Islamists. The peace-loving young Tuaregs of Tamikrest (the name of the group means ‘gathering’) 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 terrible wrench it represents for his community. Absence, betrayal, pain, revolt, hope … Tamikrest transform all these struggles into music, set to poetic texts.
    The group always sing, above all, for their own people, even though their audience is now international. Their previous album in 2011 was entitled ‘Toumastin’ (‘My People’, in Tamasheq); this one is ‘Chatma’ (‘My Sisters’).
    It is dedicated to all the women who suffer in silence, far away from the eye of the television camera, wounded in their very flesh by the conflict. The refrain of ‘Tisnant an Chatma’ is clear:
    ‘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?’
    Anyone who is observant will have noticed that the singer Wonou Walet Sidati, who has been a member of Tamikrest since the beginning, has never been relegated to the side lines during their concerts. She always sings and dances in the middle of the group, often in the front line, front of stage.