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Tinariwen to play Marfa, November 3, 2011

1 Sep 2011


Tinariwen’s “Desert session #3: The crowd and the void.” Courtesy of the band.

We are honored to announce that the desert band Tinariwen will play in Marfa, Texas on November 3, 2011. We’ve been trying to get them to play at Ballroom for years, and it’s finally happening, and we honestly can’t believe it.

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 here.) The band 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. The New York Times writer Larry Rohter writes about this thread in their music: “Tinariwen’s music has sometimes been called ‘desert blues,’ and the group’s penchant for writing songs in minor key modes certainly creates a sound that has a blue feeling. But the band’s members prefer to talk about ‘asuf,’ a sentiment from their own culture and Tamashek language that describes both a sense of spiritual pain, yearning or nostalgia and the emptiness of the desert itself.”

Tinariwen are touring in support of their new album, Tassili, which they recorded in the wild, with acoustic guitars and unamplified percussion, in the deserts of southern Algeria. It’s an incredible record, and you can listen to it on NPR’s First Listen. As Bob Boilen said, “Let’s get one thing straight: Tinariwen is just about the best guitar-based rock band of the 21st century. There’s a chance you’re one of the lucky explorers who has already discovered the magic of the group’s music — but if not, stop reading, hit play, and soak in the first song before you read any further…The rhythm will get you dancing, the singing will resonate in your chest, and the guitars will carry you away.”

Tinariwen plays Marfa on Thursday, November 3, at the Capri. Doors at 7 pm, show at 8 pm. European singer-songwriter Sophie Hunger opens the show. Buy tickets now. Special thanks to Vance Knowles.