Based in Kidal in the extreme Northeast of Mali, the heart of Azawad, Amanar plays a contemporary version of the classic Tuareg guitar. Often referred to as the “desert blues” sound, Amanar is at the forefront of the modern avant-garde interpretation.
Moving from the wistful nostalgia of their predecessors, their fast interpretation of desert blues draws from a menagerie of influences. Their guitars are mixed with percussion and flute, with an introduction of drum kits, electric piano, and elements of rap. Yet above all, it is a sound that remains rooted in Kidal. As other local favorites Tinariwen and Terakaft have moved on to international careers, Amanar have emerged as a favorite of the Tuareg youth, sought after in local marriages, political campaigns, and soirees.
Under the leadership of Ahmed Ag Kaedi, the group Amanar is a collective that receives and trains willing youth, reflecting an idea at the core and history of Tuareg guitar as a vehicle to transmit ideas. Ahmed’s lyrics have evolved from the ancient calls of rebellion to the need for education in the Tuareg community, critiques of the corruption amongst the elite, and calls for the construction of a large united Mali — all ideas that Kaedi calls “the real rebellion.”
Touring throughout Africa, the group performed at Festival au Desert in 2010, earning the Prix de la Revelation, earning them a European debut at the Presenze d’Africa Festival in Florence, Italy. Their first album, “Alghafiat”, a local production recorded in Kidal, was released internationally in 2010 and their songs have been featured on various compilations and broadcasts.
The band is currently in exile throughout Mali and Algeria as the crisis in the North of Mali has forced them to leave their homes. They are uniting this summer for a European tour.
Ishumar 2: New Tuareg Guitars (Reaktion)
Ishilan n-Tenere (Sahelsounds/Mississippi Records)
Music from Saharan Cellphones (Sahelsounds)
Laila Je T’Aime (SahelSounds/Mississippi Records)
Alghafiat LP (SahelSounds/Little Axe)