Tamikrest – Kidal

Album Review | Glitterbeat | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

The one thing we can always rely on when it comes to the sound of what we now refer to as Sahara Blues, is the utterly infectious groove that seems to permeate each song and the opening few bars of “Mawarniha Tartit” exemplifies this notion perfectly. Little changes in that groove throughout the song, yet we stick with it until the end and allow ourselves to be drawn into an almost trance-like state. No other music is quite like it. Tamikrest’s latest release Kidal, recorded in Bamako, has been two years in the making and once again showcases the band’s credentials as one of the foremost bands of its kind. Following the success of Taksera (2015), and Chatma (2013) before that, Kidal continues to promote the music of the area with a title named after the desert town, which stands in the Malian desert and which is surrounded by endless stretches of barren open space, an environment rich in tradition but also of both conflict and defiance. The eleven songs demonstrate a commitment to maintaining the Tuareg traditions of Tamikrest’s homeland, but also shows a fearless approach in bringing the music into the twentieth century with modern electric instrumentation. Occasionally though, an acoustic arrangement can stand out like a jewel, in the case of Kidal, the closing song “Adad Osan Itibat”. With the charismatic Ousmane Ag Mossa at the helm, a sort of cross between Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley, Tamikrest show no signs of bailing out of the rebellion or indeed abandoning their nomadic people.