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Tamikrest's 'Kidal' Is a Tuareg Blues Love Letter to Their Northern Malian Hometown

Mali’s socio-politically charged Tamikrest are back with their fourth studio album, a resilient & somber LP devoted to the band’s hometown.

Mali’s socio-politically charged seven-piece Tamikrest are back with their fourth studio album, a resilient yet somber record devoted to the band’s hometown of Kidal.


First inspired by the revolutionary tunes of musician-militants Tinariwen, the band have developed a distinct style since forming in 2006.

Representing a new generation of Tuareg nomads in an increasingly corporatized world, primary songwriter and bandleader Ousmane Ag Mossa reflects on similar themes of placeless-ness, nostalgia and indignation, having come of age during a five-year Malian civil war in the early 90s.

Much like Tamikrest’s previous records, Kidal marries Western roots rock with their own tradition of Saharan folk. There are subtle nods to country, like on the languid guitar licks of “Atwitas,” along with heavier, hard rock-inspired jams that recall the band’s love for British icons Pink Floyd and Mark Knopfler. But it’s mostly the blues that shapes their sound.

Album opener “Mawarniha Tartit” is a slow-burning number that employs the easy going grit of a standard blues progression to evoke resistance. A like-minded incantatory groove is established on Kidal’s third track, “Manhouy Inerizhan,” where themes of peace and composure are translated as power.

The lack of government presence, as well as mounting tensions between rival Tuareg clans and violent Islamist militants, have made desert towns like Kidal a site of political anxiety and social unrest. It’s this turmoil that’s inspired Tamikrest’s fourth album, a resistant solidarity that makes itself known in their roiling grooves (“Ehad Wad Nadorhan”) and stirring call-and-response choruses (“Wainan Adobat”).

The album’s most resoundingly beautiful song disrupts the record’s upbeat and masterful flow with a brief moment of introspection and rumination. “Tanakra,” one of two acoustic offerings on Kidal, is a poignantly spare song that conjures the stillness and silence of a moonlit Sahara.

Two distinct guitar lines meld melodies around a sole vocalist’s haunted musings, weaving and repeating like the infinite drift of a Möbius strip. There, in those arresting three minutes, Tamikrest and the Tuareg people find solace.

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Artwork: Barthélémy Toguo Lockdown Selfportrait 10, 2020. Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Goes to Paris in 2021

The longstanding celebration of African art will be hosted by Parisian hot spot Christie's for the first time ever.

In admittedly unideal circumstances, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair will be touching French soil in 2021. The internationally celebrated art fair devoted to contemporary art from Africa and the African diaspora will be hosted in Paris, France from January 20 - 23. With COVID-19 still having its way around the globe, finding new ways to connect is what it's all about and 1-54 is certainly taking the innovative steps to keep African art alive and well.
In partnership with Christie's, the in-person exhibits will take place at the auction house's city HQ at Avenue Matignon, while 20 international exhibitors will be featured online at Christies.com. And the fun doesn't stop there as the collaboration has brought in new ways to admire the talent from participating galleries from across Africa and Europe. The fair's multi-disciplinary program of talks, screenings, performances, workshops, and readings are set to excite and entice revelers.

Artwork: Delphine Desane Deep Sorrow, 2020. Courtesy Luce Gallery


The tech dependant program, curated by Le 18, a multi-disciplinary art space in Marrakech medina, will see events take place during the Parisian run fair, followed by more throughout February.
This year's 1-54 online will be accessible to global visitors virtually, following the success of the 2019's fair in New York City and London in 2020. In the wake of COVID-19 related regulations and public guidelines, 1-54 in collaboration with Christie's Paris is in compliance with all national regulations, strict sanitary measures, and security.

Artwork: Cristiano Mongovo Murmurantes Acrilico Sobre Tela 190x200cm 2019


1-54 founding director Touria El Glaoui commented, "Whilst we're sad not to be able to go ahead with the fourth edition of 1-54 Marrakech in February as hoped, we are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to be in Paris this January with our first-ever fair on French soil thanks to our dedicated partners Christie's. 1-54's vision has always been to promote vibrant and dynamic contemporary art from a diverse set of African perspectives and bring it to new audiences, and what better way of doing so than to launch an edition somewhere completely new. Thanks to the special Season of African Culture in France, 2021 is already set to be a great year for African art in the country so we are excited to be playing our part and look forward, all being well, to welcoming our French friends to Christie's and many more from around the world to our online fair in January."

Julien Pradels, General Director of Christie's France, said, "Christie's is delighted to announce our second collaboration with 1-54, the Contemporary African Art Fair, following a successful edition in London this October. Paris, with its strong links to the continent, is a perfect place for such a project and the additional context of the delayed Saison Africa 2020 makes this partnership all the more special. We hope this collaboration will prove a meaningful platform for the vibrant African art scene and we are confident that collectors will be as enthusiastic to see the works presented, as we are."


Artwork: Kwesi Botchway Metamorphose in July, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 1957


Here's a list of participating galleries to be on the lookout for:

Galleries

31 PROJECT (Paris, France)
50 Golborne (London, United Kingdom)
Dominique Fiat (Paris, France)
Galerie 127 (Marrakech, Morocco)
Galerie Anne de Villepoix (Paris, France)
Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire/ Dakar, Senegal)
Galerie Eric Dupont (Paris, France)
Galerie Lelong & Co. (Paris, France / New York, USA)
Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris, France / Brussels, Belgium)
Galleria Continua (Beijing, China / Havana, Cuba / Les Moulins, France / San Gimignano, Italy / Rome, Italy)
Gallery 1957 (Accra, Ghana / London, United Kingdom)
Loft Art Gallery (Casablanca, Morocco)

Luce Gallery (Turin, Italy)
MAGNIN-A (Paris, France)
Nil Gallery (Paris, France)
POLARTICS (Lagos, Nigeria)
SEPTIEME Gallery (Paris, France)
This is Not a White Cube (Luanda, Angola) THK Gallery (Cape Town, South Africa) Wilde (Geneva, Switzerland)

For more info visit 1-54

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