Tinariwen

Small World Music, Batuki Music Society, and Massey Hall presents

First formed in 1979 in Algerian exile by Malian Tuaregs (traditionally nomadic people spread across seven Saharan countries) and forged among the rebel camps of Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya, where they were forced into military service, Tinariwen are an iconic desert-blues band originally from northern Mali. Rooted in traditional Tuareg music but influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan and Bob Marley, their music addresses political awakening, problems of exile, repression of their people, and demands of sovereignty. Through grassroots networks, their music spread across the region and became a rallying point for the disenfranchised nation, while helping to garner global interest in desert blues, a hypnotic, danceable and intense combination of blues, traditional Tuareg music, rock and more. Outlawed in Algeria and Mali, their first two albums, released in 2001 and 2004, spread to international audiences, and they paved the way for the current wave of Tuareg desert-blues artists now making names on the international circuit, like Bombino and Tamikrest, the latter of whom appeared on the Roy Thomson Hall patio in 2015.

The band began touring internationally in the early 2000s, and begun to win over fans among rock and roll royalty: Carlos Santana invited them to perform as part of his contribution to the Montreaux Jazz Festival; Robert Plant and his guitarist Justin Adams joined Tinariwen onstage at the Festival in the Desert; Thom Yorke has said that his song “The Clock” was a direct result of hearing Plant’s recording of the band. They appeared on Herbie Hancock’s Grammy Award-winning 2010 album The Imagine Project, and won their own Grammy for their 2011 album, Tassili, which featured Nels Cline, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and members of TV on the Radio.

The band’s eighth album, which will be released in February 2017, was recorded in two distinct bursts: In 2014, the band set up shop in Rancho de la Luna studios in Joshua Tree, California along with guest musicians Matt Sweeny (Johnny Cash, Bonnie Prince Billy and Cat Power), Kurt Vile, Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age) and Alan Johannes (Queens of the Stone Age), and engineer Andrew Schepps (Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Johny Cash, Jay Z). Two years later, the band set up their tents on a Moroccan oasis near the Algerian border with young local musicians and a group of Berber gnawa (spiritual trance) musicians.

Special guests Dengue Fever’s music is a cross-pollination of Khmer rock, garage rock, psychedelic rock and the British Invasion. The LA-based band is fronted by Cambodian-born award-winning vocalist Chhom Nimol, and has, since their 2003 debut, hit major festivals and venues around the world and garnered serious acclaim.