A lot of the music coming from contemporary Malian bands and singers today has this compelling and hypnotic flow that invariably captures the listener’s attention, and the music of young Tuareg band Tamikrest is no exception. Formed in 2006 and influenced by the traditional Malian “desert blues” style, the band also integrate a more Western and guitar-based rock sound into their music. Tamikrest have just released Chatma on 13th September 2013 last, the band’s third recording for the Glitterbeat Records label.

Tamikrest - Chatma (2013)
Tamikrest – Chatma (2013)

Singing in Tamashek and ploughing the same furrow as veteran Tuareg band Tinariwen, Tamikrest lament the plight of the Saharan nomads of Berber descent in their struggle for political autonomy in rebellion-torn Mali but also celebrate the beauty of nature and the cultural heritage of the Tuareg people. “The situation of the Tuareg is very difficult right now,” says 27 year old guitarist, singer and band leader Ousmane ag Mossa:

“Even before I played the guitar and started recording, I had this ambition to be a lawyer or you might say, an ‘advocate’. I wanted to be capable of expressing the hurt I felt in my heart, and speak out about the situation, even at the United Nations. Because we’re a people who don’t have journalists, we don’t have advocates. But it was only later that I realised that a musician can play that role.”  Glitterbeat Records

Opening their latest Chatma, “Tisnant an Chatma” (The suffering of my sisters) is a beautiful homage to the Kel Tamasheq women and their role in keeping the Tuareg culture alive in difficult times. The song is available with English subtitles here.