- April 19, 2014
- 8:00 pm
275 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
The desert is a place of hardship and subtle beauty, a stark world that reveals its secrets slowly and carefully. Life in the desert is resilient and strong, and the people are gentle giants among the sand, storms, and sun. For Saharan blues band Tinariwen, the desert is their home, and their hypnotic and electrifying guitar rock reflects complex realities of their homebase in North West Africa.
They are Tuareg, descended from nomadic people who have wandered the dunes for millennia, but the music of Tinariwen travels too, reverberating far from dusty plains of Mali. Their 2011 album Tassili, recorded in the Algerian desert -- in a tent and under the stars with a esteemed cadre of musicians including Nels Cline and TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone -- won a Grammy Award for Best World music. Now their new record Emmaar returns to their roots, delivering stripped-down dirges, effervescent anthems, and above all, a return to simplicity and honesty.
Due to political instability in their country, the band recorded away from their homeland for the first time, setting up shop in another desert: Joshua Tree, California. "This is the first time we are recording out of Africa it has to be in a desert," says bassist Eyadou Ag Leche. "We would like to live in peace in the North of Mali, but this is very difficult, there is no administration, no banks, no food, no gas. Joshua Tree is in the high desert of California, we love all the desert, these are places where we feel good to live and to create."
Recorded over three weeks in studio built in a house in the region known for spaced-out rock ‘n' roll and psychedelic cowboy folk, Emmaar showcases an organic feel from the rolling hand drums and meandering guitars of album opener "Toumast Tincha" chants to the galloping beats of the forward-marching "Chaghaybou." "We were not in a proper studio or outside in the desert like Tassili," Ag Leche says, "we built a studio in a big house in Joshua Tree. Everybody in the same room, with no separation. We wanted something which sounded natural and live....."