The Terakaft caravan is unstoppable. A year has passed since the release of Aratan N Azawad, and the Touareg band is back with a fourth album, Kel Tamasheq. Get ready for some rock n roll!
Recently I’ve been rather slow at listening to new music, and even slower at writing about it. A perfect example, it took me almost twenty years to listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ One Hot Minute.
When I did, I was quite happy to eventually hear a RHCP piece that I liked, only to find out later that it was considered as their worst album among the RHCP community. This made me realise I’d never be a RHCP fan.
But I’m getting a little off-topic here some might think. Hold on tight, I’m getting there. For RHCP did appear on several occasions with Tinariwen, the Touareg ishumar band par excellence, which brings me to Terakaft.
Terakaft (“caravan” in Tamasheq language) has always lived in the shadow of Tinariwen. It’s actually quite hard to dissociate both bands, as the former was created as an offshoot of the latter.
Like their cousins, Terakaft get their inspiration and energy from their struggle and love for their Saharan land. The lyrics of Kel Tamasheq (which means “the Tamasheq-speaking people” i.e. the Touaregs) depict a world of conflict and pain but where laughs and smiles form the daily lives too.
The music is reminiscent of classic ishumar rock, with typical syncopated guitar riffs, energetic handclaps or call-and-answer vocals. But the album goes further. It’s plain and uncompromising, thanks to production efforts of long time friend Justin Adams. He’s certainly aroused the band’s spirit and given them a more distinct identity.
If a proof was needed to show that the Touareg musical inspiration hadn’t run dry, here’s one. Kel Tamasheq brings back to the basics of rock, the Saharan way.
The recording sessions: