Thursday, January 13, 2011

CD Review: Kel Assouf - Tin Hinane

Tin Hinane
Igloo Records

The Tuareg blues bands have flourished after the rise of the late-Ali Farka Toure. The Tamasheq-language group, Kel Assouf, is made up of members from Niger, Mali, Togo, Algeria, Mauritania, France, and Ghana. The music is a mix of flute, voice, guitar, karkabou, kora, bass, calabash, percussion, and pandeiro. The sounds of the Sahel are breezy and the vocals are superb. The Tinariwen-esque playing styles resemble other North African guitar groups, including Etran Finatawa, Tidawt, Toumast, Tartit, Tamikrest and Terakaft. The jaunty "Afrik" and the beautiful "Tiliadene N'Ashra" rivals that of "Tinariwene" and the solemn "Talit". Kel Assouf is Tamasheq for 'son of the desert' and Tin Hinane is Tamasheq for an ancient Tuareg queen. The importance of the guitar as an instrument of rebellion pervades North Africa and permeates the tracks of Tin Hinane. The incorporation of traditional instruments provides a fine balance between ancient and modern elements that shine through on every track. Travel to the Sahara and let Kel Assouf welcome you into their world. Liner notes in French with Tamasheq song titles. ~ Matthew Forss

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