Tamikrest – Tamotaït

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

The now familiar pulsating beat of a good strong Sahara blues number always conjures up the summer festival season, where the mosh pit expands to the edges of the marquee, heads bobbing in unison to the immediately identifiable rhythms and predominant guitar licks.  “Awnafin”, the opening song on Tamikrest’s fifth album in ten years, demonstrates this from the start.  Tamotaït means hope for a positive change, something continually prevalent in troubled North Mali, the band’s homeland, from which they are exiled.

These nomadic Kel Tamasheq musicians are sharp, street wise and youthful, but at the same time remain close to their traditions and take their music seriously. Guitarist Ousmane Ag Mossa has a similar charismatic presence of a Bob Marley or a Jimi Hendrix, a comparable charm as well as a sense of defiance, which almost insists that you be drawn in. The music is also slightly mesmerising, its pulsating and trance-like rhythms immediately transporting the listener to an entirely different place and mind set.  “Timtarin”, featuring the voice of Moroccan singer Hindi Zahra exemplifies this notion.  The dynamic force of Tamikrest’s rock affiliation can be found in the blistering “Anha Achal Wad Namda”, which could warrant at least a mention in Kerrang!       

Choice Track: Awnafin (NSV 498)