Skip to main content

Tuareg Rock: Terakaft Releases Aratan N Azawad June 14 2011

From a media release:

Rebel Elders:
Terakaft Refines Rough-Hewn Desert Rock on

Aratan N Azawad (Children of the Azawad) - Release June 14, 2011

Old-school rock rebels and musical elders from the desert. Terakaft brings together the raw sounds of
minimal indie guitar rock and the swaying pulse of Saharan journeys. They harness the energy of flirtatious midnight songs and the gravitas of respected advisors calling for peace and unity.

Tuareg guitar warriors, Terakaft keeps alive the musical spirit honed by decades of oppression, rebellion, and exile on Aratan N Azawad (Children of the Azawad, World Village; June 14, 2011). Drawing on traditional forms of this Saharan nomadic people, filtered through an utterly fresh take on blues and rock, Terakaft (“Caravan”) moves through Tuareg history and a sea of sand to take the plight of their people to the world—in angular guitar licks and pulsating grooves.

Based in Mali, the core of Terakaft got its start where it all started: with the boot camp blues that became a musical liberation movement. In hopes of liberating their denigrated, divided people scattered over five African countries, some Tuaregs turned to violence, gaining military and ideological training from the Libyans. But their casual, cigarette-fueled blues jams in between training sessions soon inspired a better way to shake up the Tuareg world: trade the machine guns for electric guitars, following in the footsteps of Bob Marley and John Lennon.

The resulting music sparked a revolution all its own, as young Tuaregs embraced the new sound, simply called “guitar” in Tuareg, and began taking ancient call-and-response poetic forms and making them rock. Terakaft leader Liya Ag Ablil (a.k.a. Diara) and the late Inteyeden (who like Diara once formed the core of Tinariwen) themselves began a new direction within that greater movement: They composed historical songs in the new rock style. Terakaft now embraces two generations of musicians and a body of music dedicated to the rich history and poetry of the Tuareg.

“Historically, our people had a huge territory that extended across the Sahara,” explains bassist and singer Abdallah Ag Ahmed. “But now Tuaregs are all living in despair and isolation, each in their own little corner of the world. We want to unite our people,” with rousing calls for progress like “Aghalem.”

Terakaft has perfected the songs that launched this desert rock rebellion, with tracks like “Aratan N Azawad,” which insists that children must study Tuareg language and history, which “is written in the mountains,” for there to be hope. Originally composed by Diara during the Tuareg rebellion two decades ago, Terakaft brings balance and quiet insistence to the song’s catchy melody and pared-down guitar solos.

Terakaft’s vision of national unity and Saharan rock incorporates the rich heritage of Tuareg poetry and dance, blending it with the details of contemporary desert life. The brand image on a pack of Algerian cigarettes inspired “Akoz Imgharen” (“Four Patriarchs”), suggesting a council of wise elders for the four corners of Tuareg territory to Diara’s imagination. The lyrical “Idiya Idohena” is based on iswat, the playful, sensual songs that accompany young Tuaregs’ midnight dancing. The song is traditional, but Terakaft singer and guitarist Sanou Ag Ahmed adapted it for guitar and voices (and a subtle patter of palms).

Though firmly rooted in traditional forms, Terakaft has quietly expanded the musical palette of Tuareg rock. There’s a sparkle and upbeat vibe reminiscent of West African guitar rock running parallel to the modal and bluesy feel that first won Tuareg music international attention. Interlocking bass grooves and drums add a funky complexity to songs like the romantic “Hegh Ténéré.”

“We’ve just begun to work with musicians from other places, like the Indian singer Kiran Alhuwalia or a Celtic clarinetist we performed with not long ago in Angers,” notes Diara. “It was great to play with them. And we now tour with Matthias [Vaguenez],” a percussionist and fixture on the French world music and trip hop scene, whose thoughtful playing weaves throughout the album.

Increasingly familiar with and known to the world at large, Terakaft remains devoted to their desert heritage and to their ongoing hope of a united Tuareg nation. “I have to say,” reflects Diara, “there is nothing better than unity and peace.”

Photo Credits:
• Terakaft by Nadia Nidi El Mourid
• Diara by Mathias Vaguenez


What Else Is Hot This Week?

Harlem Stage Digital Event: A Drop Of Midnight October 13 & 15 2020

From a release:Harlem Stage Digital Event:
A Drop Of Midnight
October 13 & 15 2020A two-part conversation with Jason ‘Timbuktu’ Diakité and his creative team around the developmental process of creating his autobiographical theater project, A Drop of Midnight. In this conversation Jason will take us on his journey to becoming one of Sweden’s chart-topping hip-hop artists and a best-selling author. He’ll also share the story of how a mixtape from Brooklyn traveled across the waters to the tiny village of Lund, Sweden and altered the course of his life forever. We will examine the impact of hip hop music and culture on the globe. How has hip-hop united communities of color globally?  How do you translate a personal story into a universal truth? How do you build a creative team? How has the current climate of social justice informed your artistic practice? Jason will read excerpts from the play and share some of the music. October 13—Part IIn this conversation A Drop of Midnight author…

Review: Night of the Kings / La Nuit des Rois by Philippe Lacôte

Night of the Kings
La Nuit des Rois
by Philippe LacôteA France, Côte d'Ivoire, Canada and Senegal co-productionNow Playing In The New York Film FestivalImageAfter Venice and the Toronto Film Festival, Philippe Lacôte's Night of the Kings has moved on to conquer New York City. A young pickpocket (Koné Bakary), is incarcerated in the giant La MACA prison, the largest in Côte d’Ivoire. The prison offers a hostile atmosphere, where the guards have long given up keeping order and the prisoners run the show, albeit confined within the prison walls. They dance, sing, and mingle at will in a common area called The Jungle. There is a violent power struggle between Lord Blackbeard (Steve Tientcheu), who runs things, and the younger leaders of other factions. Blackbeard is old and infirm, and he knows he can't hold on forever. But, he does want to hold on long enough to leave on his own terms. Blackbeard designates the newcomer as the new storyteller - the griot - called Roma…

So You Can't Go: Six Ways To Travel Virtually

So You Can't Go:
Six Ways To Travel VirtuallyTravel is limited for most of us in the world these days. For Canadians, it depends on the province you live in, but with the border to the US still closed, and other options limited at best, virtual travel from the couch can provide at least a view with a difference at a time when you may well need it most. Google Cardboard – VR On A BudgetYou don't need a lot of cash to get into travel via virtual reality. Google Cardboard is a line of VR viewers that are, well, made of cardboard, and are priced starting at $12CAD.If you check out this link, you'll find out how to download the software to your smartphone.At this link, you can get yourself an actual Google Cardboard for a hands-free VR experience. Google Cardboard apps offer a variety of ways to experience our beautiful planet, including Google Earth itself, which can take you anywhere, along with apps to view museums and cultural artifacts, and more.Ascape VRAscape has a huge l…

Modern Romanticism | Stanley Grill: And I Paint Stars with Wings (Innova Recordings / February 14, 2020)

Modern Romanticism:
Stanley Grill: And I Paint Stars with Wings
In praise of mysteries
(Innova Recordings / February 14, 2020)Composers: Stanley Grill
Performers: Camerata Philadelphia, Stephen Framil, Brett Douglas, Deubner, Peggy Pei-Ju YuCheck Out The Release On Innova RecordingsAmerican composer Stanley Grill is about to release another album of his work, so I thought I'd catch up on the last one, And I Paint Stars with Wings. 
His work with Camerata Philadelphia and others on the release is melodic and evocative, modern romanticism with achingly sweet harmonies. Grill's goal is to use his music to encourage thoughts of world peace, most obviously evidenced in Pavanne (for a world without war) for string orchestra. It's part of his Music for Peace project, composed, as described by the composer “after having made a decision that my music needed to serve another purpose besides the obvious one of touching the hearts of those who listened to it. However unlikely of success, t…

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …