African Blues Evolved – Tinariwen

imidiwanTinariwen’s latest album, Imidiwan, follows on the success of groups 2007 release “Aman Iman: Water is Life”. I’ve been following the groups success right from their beginnings. The story behind the music is one of bloodshed, rebellion and suffering, for an excellent write-up see Andy Morgan’s biography on their website.

For us, it’s the music that moves us, and probably one of the strongest tracks on the album for the uninitaited will be “Lulla”, a track which begins disguising its true intentions, with a few scant hand claps and some incidental plucks at a guitar, before unleashing a jaw dropping groove to liberate the soul. “Tenhert” is also very special with its head nodding chords and reflective vocal passages, while “Enseqi Ehad Didagh” will go down well with long time Tinariwen fans as will the slow and meditative melodies of “Chegret”.

While African blues traditionalists may still argue that “Amassakoul” is Tinariwen’s best contribution to the genre, it would be a mistake for them or any other music lover to dismiss “Imidiwan” on the grounds that it is a departure from the groups earlier sound. The new album represents a much more polished and refined offering than their previews relsease.

Tinariwen have found their comfort zone and strike a formidable balance between old and new styles, with the result that Imidiwan represents their strongest offering to date.

This is an African Blues album at its most accessible, and has something for everyone.