GR 721CD GR 721CD

2011 release. Tamikrest follow their 2010 debut, Adagh (GR 703CD/LP), with Toumastin, honing their focus on the rebellious power of rock music in their own special way. Tamikrest are from Kidal, a remote desert town in the northwest of the Sahara, some 1,200 miles north of the capital, Bamako. Tamikrest are substantially younger than the most prominent Tuareg band, Tinariwen, but there is a close resemblance between both bands. Just like Tinariwen, Tamikrest have found a way to translate the pulse of the blues -- the roots of which lie in North Africa -- back to the Tuareg language Tamaschek. They take generators deep into the desert to have electricity for their guitars in search for the perfect synthesis of their traditional ritual drumming with the music of Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley. Tamikrest's leader, Ousmane Ag Mossa, is quick to admit his influences: "When I was young I listened to a lot of traditional Tuareg music as well as Tinariwen. There was no other music. I started to learn the guitar around that time and it was only in 2000 that I had access to cassettes of Bob Marley and Dire Straits. That changed my musical vision completely and I stopped to classify music. Music is just music, no matter where it comes from. Music is just too big for me to comprehend in its entirety. My goal is to broaden my horizon step by step." Tamikrest are on a trip into the infinite world of music. When the band was founded in 2006 they had a hard time getting exposure in their homeland as it proved to be difficult for music with ancient traditions in a country that is flooded with Western-influenced hip-hop and pop. Things changed abruptly when they played the Festival Au Desert in 2008 and met with the American/Australian band Dirtmusic, made up of Chris Eckman (The Walkabouts), Chris Brokaw (Come), and Hugo Race (Hugo Race & True Spirit). Mossa talks about the fateful meeting: "We jammed in tents, open air in the desert sand and on stage. This has extended my musical knowledge tremendously and from that point on I played my guitar in a different way. Through Dirtmusic we had the chance to work in a professional studio for the first time. There was no way had we would let that opportunity pass, so we travelled the long way from Kidal to Bamako." With their second album, Toumastin, the young Tuareg rebels create their own universe using even brighter colors. The enchanted ancient mystique of the songs captures the ear immediately, but as the music carries on the band bridges the gaps between African blues, hypnotic dub, psychedelic funk, and an almost supernatural kind of desert garage. The guitars are more offensive, the groove deepens, and the Tamaschek chants merge with the meandering guitar riffs like a caravan voyage through ancient times.