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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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Desert rock! Tamikrest

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Picking up the desert rock sound right where their compatriots Tinariwen left off, Tuareg rockers Tamikrest have pushed the sound into an even edgier, rock zone. Tamikrest, translated from from the Kel Tamasheq, their native tongue, means 'gathering' and on their new album Chatma, Tamikrest has gathered ten songs together that speak to the band's roots.

'Chatma' translates as "Sisters" and the band have dedicated the album, in their own words, to "the courage of the Tuareg women, who have ensured both their children's survival and the morals of their fathers and brothers." A theme that resonates now more than ever perhaps given the warfare that has ravaged Northern Mali of late as their people continue to struggle for autonomy. Indeed, this album is about a different sort of recognition as bandleader Ousmane Ag Mossa relates:

 ‘Even if our music gives me a better life and a little comfort, so long as my people are marginalised and persecuted, it has no value. [...] Over the years, nothing really gets any better in Kidal. Come and see how we live; this isn’t Bamako, it’s another world. Nobody invests in the development of this town; ninety per cent of young people are unemployed.’ 

As the first single from Chatma, "Imanin Bas Zihoun" rocks as hard as the situation in Northern Mali sounds...