Year of the Toyota Land Cruiser (Y.T.L.C.)

Historically, musicologists lacked the capability to record audio. Songs were transcribed either in Western musical notation or some peculiar form of transcription. Both forms suffered from inevitable selection bias as to what was or was not recorded (or able to be recorded in the confines of the transcription method, which…

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“Il y laisse de jouer.”

Another routine evening, we assemble inside Ahmed's compound of chest high mud walls, sitting on the light mats thrown down in the dusty yard. Two or three guitars are picked up and traded around, the flickering light of the fire just barely bright enough to make out the shadowy figures…

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issawhat?

Teyti anounces isswat In the rainy season, pooled water gathers and flows into seasonal rivers. They follow the same paths, snaking deep gulleys carved into the hard earth from the many years. The area around these gullies is flourishing with trees. Craggy vicious trees with spines, but relative to the…

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Root Down

Imagine the brousse like a rich tapestry laid out over the desert. This is not the empty desert of bleached sand, the "tilemsi" as it is called in Tamashek, not the vast stretch wasteland where no plant grows, not the sea of alternating sand dunes and lush green date palm…

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Three at a time please.

The guitar soiree is the quintessential to the modern Tamashek. At least a few times in a week a festival will be organized -- be it a marriage, a baptism, or simply a concert. As the first stars appear in the sky, the guitar can be heard wafting over the…

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