JBEIL, Lebanon: With electric guitar riffs carried on hot, North African winds, Tinariwen welcome you to the desert. The world-renowned band of Tuareg musicians from Northern Mali closed the 2012 Byblos Festival Wednesday night, introducing their bluesy desert rock to a small, yet devoted, crowd of African music enthusiasts.
In traditional Tuareg regalia of black or white turbans and billowing colored robes, the six touring members of Tinariwen played a generous and uncompromising set, sampling numbers from their Grammy Award-winning 2011 release “Tassili,” as well as songs from their earlier, acclaimed albums “Aman Iman” (Water is life) and “Imidiwan” (Companions).
Often described as desert blues or Saharan rock, Tinariwen’s style is based on Tuareg melodies, traditionally played on a shepherd’s flute, but transferred to the medium of acoustic and electric guitars. With Berber, Arabic and African elements, the music is the product of wanderers, picking up influences from different peoples and cultures until forming a style unto itself.