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Tinariwen: Aman Iman

by Leonora Oppenheim in Culture on 21 February 2007

Amaniman

If you like your music bluesy, soulful and electric, you’ll want to check out Aman Iman: Water is Life. Only released a couple of weeks ago, this album is already being hailed as one of the highlights of 2007.

Tinariwen are legendary in their own country of Mali not only for their rocking desert blues, but also for their role as Toureg rebel fighters for Ghadaffi in the 1980s. The extraordinary image that this history created of Kalashnikov-toting, Stratocaster-playing nomads caught the world music industry’s imagination with their last album. Now with Aman Iman they are set to raise their international profile even higher.

As music critic Barney Hoskyns from Uncut magazine puts it, "this extraordinary band are clearly pushing for more than cult world-music status. They fully merit it." Produced by Robert Plant’s guitarist and North African music connoisseur Justin Adams, the album talks of Tinariwen’s fighting days and their exile in Libya, but also of nomadic life in the Sahara, love and loss. Tinariwen have said they would like to dedicate Aman Iman to, "peace, tolerance and development in the Sahara and in the world of the oppressed." The album is now out on the Independiente/VITAL label in the U.K. and the EMMA/AZ/Universal label in France. It is due to be released in the U.S. on World Village in March.

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