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Stream Tinariwen's 'Inside / Outside: Joshua Tree Acoustic Sessions' EP

Northern Malian desert blues band Tinariwen share a full stream of their 'Inside / Outside: Joshua Tree Acoustic Sessions' EP.


With songs built around smooth guitars and comforting voices, Northern Malian desert blues group Tinariwen display something welcoming, almost familial, in their music. It's no surprise then that the band held their own communal campfire jam sessions outside their studio in California's Joshua Tree desert while recording last year's Emaar. A sense of warmth and kinship is found in the result of those late night performances, which inspired the 5-track Inside / Outside: Joshua Tree Acoustic Sessions EP. Not only is the EP technically impressive with fast guitar picks and slaps, it furthers Tinariwen's distinction as a band that's, at once, both soothing and commanding. Right from the album opener "Adounia ti- Chidjret," lead guitarist/singer Ibrahim Ag Alhabib eases listeners in with his deep timbre as his bandmates join him in a circle of curling guitars and soft drums. On "Imidiwan sadjdat Tislim," the tone is slightly more tense as Tinariwen's guitar strokes become even quicker, but Alhabib's soulful voice steers the song away from despair. "Inar Tissanam," the release's most poignant track, has Alhabib singing at his most impassioned with a certain hurt and yearning in his voice. The EP closes with "Tiwayyen," a blend of soaring strings and frenetic percussion that evoke a sense of urgency but offer solace in the process. Listen to a full stream of Inside / Outside: Joshua Tree Acoustic Sessions below and watch out for a digital release on October 7 from Anti-.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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