Marfa Dialogues


Sophie Hunger

3 November 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011
Doors at 7:00 PM | Show at 8 PM
Sophie Hunger opens
Tickets $10 online | The Capri, Marfa, TX

Ballroom Marfa is honored to host the phenomenal band Tinariwen on November 3, 2011 at the Capri in Marfa, Texas — a rare and special visit from the African band to the West Texas desert.

Tinariwen is a band of Tuareg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali, who came together in refugee camps in Libya in 1979 (read more of their incredible story on their website). Their songs, initially recorded on cassettes and passed around the desert, helped broadcast the message of a rebel movement promoting the rights of nomadic peoples suffering under repressive governments. The band’s music eventually broke through to a wider audience in the early 2000s with their hybrid of Berber, Arab, Western and black African musical styles, including the blues (a mix often referred to as “desert blues”).

With this success, Tinariwen have found themselves in a strange place: while singing about the distress of their people, they’ve become stars, playing international festivals like Coachella and Glastonbury, and rubbing shoulders with heavyweights like Thom Yorke, Robert Plant, and TV on the Radio. But this recognition hasn’t altered the spirit of their music, which mixes the spiky sound of guitars with lyrics that celebrate the union between a people and their environment, and reflects the yearning and spiritual pain of their history. (Watch amazing videos of the band here, here, and here.)

Tinariwen are touring in support of their new album, Tassili, which they recorded in the wilds of southern Algeria, with acoustic guitars and unamplified percussion. It’s an incredible record, and a new direction for the band, which is famous for their work on the electric guitar. As NPR’s Bob Boilen said, “Tinariwen is just about the best guitar-based rock band of the 21st century. … The rhythm will get you dancing, the singing will resonate in your chest, and the guitars will carry you away.”

Opening for Tinariwen is Swiss singer-songwriter Sophie Hunger, whose haunting vocals — at once fragile and soulful — have carried her blues-dappled acoustic folk from intimate cafe appearances and European tours (and now all the way to Marfa).

    [vimeo 31695315] The amazing Sophie Hunger opening for Tinariwen in Marfa, November 2011.

    [vimeo 31855825] The unparalleled Tinariwen playing at the Capri, November 2011. Great crowd, great energy, great dancing!

    [vimeo 32340945] A full song by Tinariwen playing at the Capri, November 2011. Amazing.

    Support for this project provided by The Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston, TX and Ballroom Marfa members. Special thanks to The Big Bend Sentinel, Rob Crowley, Tim Johnson, Vance Knowles, Karen Longshore, Chrissie Saenz, Robert Lara, Marfa Public Radio, Marfa Recording Company, Ken Whitley, and the Thunderbird Hotel.