Tinariwen's 'Amatssou (Deluxe)': A sonic fusion of desert blues and American roots

Tinariwen, the pioneering Grammy-winning Tuareg collective, has released the deluxe edition of their acclaimed and enthralling album 'Amatssou' - including four new bonus unreleased tracks.

“The mix of banjos, fiddles and soaring pedal steel with Tinariwen's snaking guitar lines and hypnotic desert grooves sounds both fitting and magnificent. Among the greatest tracks they've ever recorded” - Songlines ★★★★★

“Listeners who love a wide soundstage, with well-separated guitars coming at you from all angles, will be in heaven. Tinariwen kick harder than they have for a while. An unforgettable fire still burns in the Sahara” - Mojo ★★★★

 “Tinariwen still sound as electric when they first began” - The FADER

For decades, Tinariwen has remained ambassadors for the Tuareg people, a way of life in tune with the natural world, which is under threat as never before. Throughout Amatssou — the legendary collective’s ninth studio album — Tinariwen set out to explore the shared sensibilities between their trademark desert blues and the vibrant country music of rural America. Recorded in Djanet, an oasis in the desert of southern Algeria located in Tassili N’Ajjer National Park, with additional production on two tracks by Daniel Lanois (Brian Eno, U2, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Peter Gabriel, Willie Nelson), Amatssou finds Tinariwen’s signature snaking guitar lines and hypnotic grooves seamlessly co-existing alongside banjos, fiddles and pedal steel. 

Though Tuareg culture is as old as that of ancient Greece or Rome, the songs of Amatssou speak to the current and often tough reality of Tuareg life today. Unsurprisingly, there are impassioned references to Mali’s ongoing political and social turmoil. Full of poetic allegory, the lyrics call for unity and freedom. There are songs of struggle and resistance with oblique references to Mali's recent desperate political upheavals and the increasing power of the Salafists. Tinariwen’s message has never sounded more urgent and compelling than it does on Amatssou (Deluxe).

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