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ARTIST
TITLE
Tikounen
FORMAT
LP

LABEL
CATALOG #
ZEP 032LP ZEP 032LP
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
6/17/2016

Dragging rock drums, cutting guitar riffs, and Tamasheq chants -- this is the sound of the new Tuareg generation. Life in an urban context and the connection with the Saharan culture define Kel Assouf's album Tikounen. Influenced by Led Zeppelin and today's modern rock music, the group create a heavy sound that blends with traditional Tuareg music. The album is about peace, equality, and respect for other cultures. Music is the band's weapon, with which they stifle the noise of missiles and rockets. It is the band's cry out for a better world. Kel Assouf's name translates from the Touareg Tamasheq language to both "those with nostalgia" and "sons of eternity." The group came together around the exiled Touareg musician Anana Harouna in Brussels in 2006. From the beginning, Kel Assouf built its identity around two central ideas: the promotion of Touareg culture and the struggle against discrimination. With this album, Tikounen (the title of which translates to "surprise," Kel Assouf want to express the stupefaction and perplexity created by a world where war, injustice, and pollution are running wild. With one foot in the desert and the other in the urban jungle, Harouna writes about the Sahara and everyday life in both Niger and Europe. Using short phrases similar to Japanese haiku, Harouna sings his poetry about humanity and respect. The result is a powerful sound with trailing drums, precise guitar riffs, and singing in Tamasheq. Since the band's 2010 debut, Tin Hinane, Harouna has introduced a new formation that was completed by the arrival of Toulou Kiki, who played the protagonist in Abderrahmane Sissako's acclaimed 2014 film Timbuktu. She enriches the feminine tradition of the Touareg culture. The Tunisian producer and musician Sofyann Ben Youssef invigorates the album by crafting a hypermodern sound on the edges of today's Touareg music. The African trance rhythms played by rock musicians transport listeners to a dancefloor somewhere between London and Niamey -- a powerful groove machine!