Northern Mali's Tuareg guitar band Terakaft is back with a new album of burning-hot Saharan desert guitar blues, Alone (Téneré) (drops 09/11/15), but what's surprising is they're also bringing an uplifting message of trust. Surprising because the Tuareg have survived countless tragedies in recent years as Islamists took over their land, suppressed their music and traditions, and wrought havoc on their culture. The loss of freedom during this time, which saw many refugees fleeing Mali and the cancellation of the legendary Festival au Désert, was especially hard on Tuaregs, a nomadic culture stretching across multiple countries in North Africa that cherishes the idea of free travel and free trade. In fact, Terakaft translates to "caravan"! As Terakaft guitarist and singer Sanou Ag Ahmed says, “They began to forbid music and many other things. How could we live without music? It is such a great thing for all of us. Music is pure life in the desert. Music is like freedom.” Now that Mali is in recovery, music is flowing like water again, and Terakaft is back with a driving new album that channels a new sense of hope. Their last album, Aratan an Azawad burned impossibly hot, fueled by the twin electric guitars of Ag Ahmed and band songwriter Diara (Ag Ahmed's uncle), who was a member of Tinariwen back in the day. Ag Ahmed and Diara are still at the core of Terakaft, but this time they've brought a friend, producer Justin Adams, who kicked up the bass and drums between the fiery guitar lines. This boosts the beat factor for Terakaft, and focuses on the loping rhythmic drone behind Tuareg music. The kind of long, long rhythms that sound like they loop endlessly, fueling many late night jam sessions in the Sahara around a campfire.
TERAKAFT - "AMIDININ SENTA ANEFLAS"
KITHFOLK is proud to premiere the song "Amidinin Senta Aneflas," a beautiful song which means "My Confidant" in Temasheq, the Tuareg language.
We asked Terakaft what the song means, and this is what they said: "Amidinin Senta Aneflas is a song written by Diara 12 years ago which had never been recorded. It translates as "my confident" and talks about his friend who he trusts and pictures a man walking in the mountains to the Oued (river valley) with his camel which he has well prepared for the journey and decorated with a fine saddle from Ayr. He wrote this song to tell people to trust one another."
It's a beautiful message from a hard-won place, and a testament to the power of Tuareg music and freedom.