A blog about arts and societies around the world

Tag: Sahara

Terakaft rocks la fête de la music

Tuareg rockers Terakaft have been touring Europe for the past couple of months. They played in Paris at the much-hyped Fête de la Musique on 21 June. Imagine a story that began a few centuries ago. Imagine a time when Timbuktu was so busy that it would make New York City blush. Imagine an age… Read More ›

What next for Mali?

It’s been three weeks since the beginning of French intervention in Mali. The largest northern towns have now been seized by the French Malian coalition. Today, a few questions emerge as to what happens next. In January 2012, the National Movement of Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), an independence Touareg movement, launched an attack against the… Read More ›

Terakaft: Kel Tamasheq

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,… Read More ›

Tinariwen: Tassili

Tinariwen has taken Saharan music to a whole new level over the past decades. Their latest album Tassili slightly shifted towards a new direction. Here’s my verdict. How often do we listen to a song for the first time, either love it or hate at once, only to change our mind later on? Normally, critics rush into reviews as… Read More ›

Agadez: music and rebellion

The London International Documentary Festival 2011 featured the première of Agadez: The Music and the Rebellion. Director Ron Wyman tells the story of the Touareg of the region of Agadez, northern Niger, focusing on the rise of local guitar-hero and newly internationally acclaimed artist, Omar Moctar “Bombino”. Making documentaries about the Touareg has become en… Read More ›

Ishumar 2: New Touareg Guitars

Three years after the compilation Ishumar was released, the Touareg rockers are back on Ishumar 2. While the first part presented up-and-coming or internationally acclaimed artists, this episode focuses on a segment of Touareg music still unknown to this day. The ishumars have been in the spotlight for the past thirty years. They appeared amid… Read More ›

The tribulations of the Tuareg on Al Jazeera

I have recently made an appearance on an Al Jazeera piece by Jeremy Keenan, on the Tuareg and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. It’s quite an interesting article that shows the complexity of the political situation in the Sahara. Click here to read more.

AQIM, al-Qaeda and the Sahara

In September, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) abducted seven employees of French uranium giants Areva in northern Niger. An ongoing debate has been centred on the possible implication of the local Touareg, and the actual link between AQIM and al-Qaeda, which has yet to be precisely established. It was the ideal moment for Osama… Read More ›

Oil, terror and social exclusion in the Sahara

Throughout history the Sahara Desert has been a key point to many rulers, both African and Western, due to its geostrategic position. Recent events have brought it under the negative spotlight of the media. News reports bring attention to kidnappings, the presence of Al-Qaeda, military operations but they usually fail to mention all the interests… Read More ›

The Rough Guide to Desert Blues

The Rough Guide to… collection has been going strong for over a decade, thanks to the association between the Rough Guide travel guide book and the World Music Network. Bringing flavours from Bhangra to Romanian Gypsies, it’s been a reference for those willing to find out various genres from the remotest lands. Five years after… Read More ›