tales of exile

Ahmed's guitar band Amanar takes their name from the constellation Orion; by virtue of an old story, one of many about a great Tamashek warrior by the same name. As the story goes, Amanar, an grand and imposing figure, accidentally bumped into a woman milking her goats to feed her…

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The flag of the independent autonomous region of Azawad is a variation on the green, yellow, and red found across the continent. But for the inclusion of black. It recalls the flag of Palestine, an ally at least in a similar struggle for statehood against an overpowering military foe. It's…

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gargando mon beau village

The first rains were falling outside Timbouctou. A cold wind carried the bruised clouds over the river and the waving grasses, dampening the scorched ocher of red earth. I remember hearing about Abba, listening to a muffled cassette in Nema, across the border in Mauritania. The rain was also falling…

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Auld lang syne

Concert recording from Ibrahim of Tinariwen at the Fete du Chameau in Tessalit, Mali - New Year's Eve, 2009. (via rapidshare)

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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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