The Drake, Amherst
Thursday, October 20
8:00 PM ET

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The New Sound of Desert Blues

Imarhan’s musical world has always been expansive, based in the traditional sounds of the Tuareg people but fiercely individualistic and embracing of the many varied styles they encounter. The South Algerian Tuareg quintet is friends with Tinariwen, and their music is similarly rooted in Tamashek wedding music and desert blues, also called “Assouf”. But it emanates outwards as the group become leading ambassadors for their people and culture around the world.

Their third release, “Aboogi”, is named after the professional recording studio they built in 2019, the first of its kind, in their city of Tamanrasset. Like their music, which often riffs on issues of colonialism and inequality – birthing the studio space speaks to their role as community organizers, activists, and poets in modern Tuareg society.

The featherweight, festive music heard on their new recording belies its fierce sense of conviction and justice. Therein lie the complexities that make Imarhan’s music so prescient – beauty and tranquility intermingle with strife and heartache, creating a dynamic view of life for those subjugated by over a century of colonialism and lopsided revolutions but blessed with extraordinary community, art, and culture.

IF YOU LIKE: Mdou Moctar, Tinariwen, Les Filles de Illighadad, Ali Farka Toure

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