Tamikrest – Chatma (Glitterbeat Records)
Louder Than War reviews the latest album by Tuareg rockers, Tamikrest. Titled “Chatma” it’s the band’s third release & is billed as an homage to “the courage of the Tuareg women, who have ensured both their children’s survival and the morals of their fathers and brothers.” The band are about to embark on a UK tour as well – check out the dates below.
The Tuareg are nomads from the Sahara regions of Niger, Libya, Algeria and Mali and their wandering lifestyle has clearly given great influence to the mixed style of Tamikrest. As with many artists from the area, their homelands are in a state of complete and utter disarray with war raging, which gives a way for their music to come forward. They have slowly grown their reputation throughout Europe and this year in the UK they performed alongside Bassekou Kouyate and Sidi Toure. Aptly, ‘Tamikrest’ means ‘crossing’.
On this, their third album, they concentrate on one theme – ‘Chatma’ or ‘sisters’ – and dedicate the collection to the courage of the Tuareg women in these oppressive times. Produced by Chris Eckman of Dirtmusic, who themselves have this year released one of the finest albums you will ever hear, Tamikrest bring you an album of quite superb quality with songs and melodies that are set to etch themselves into your mind.
Album opener, ‘Tisnant an Chatma’, features the vocals of Ousmane Ag Mossa and the amazing voice of Wonou Walet Sidati, whose powerful haunting singing gives her an essential part to play and whose addition makes an album on the ascendancy fly high above anything else that is currently out there.
The style of Tamikrest is intriguing, with clear African styles fused with those of Hendrix and maybe even Marley, and unsurprisingly, Dirtmusic. The rock guitar is certainly a feature and, mixed with more traditional sounds and melodies, makes for some great listening. There’s a definite stab at reggae on ‘Itous’ which works quite successfully, and ‘Djanegh Etoumast, clearly the album highlight, is a triumph which features Mossa together with a chorus of voices echoing the words of the lead. The pace is frenetic and the musicianship superb.
There’s also the slightly strange with ‘Assikal’ which seems to be two tracks in one, part Pink Floyd sounding, it features spoken word which maybe loses some of its appeal with the English speaking fraternity, but it does hold a certain atmospheric quality which keeps it engaging. The almost ambient ‘Timtar’ closes an album of rock, blues, reggae and psychedelic influenced tracks of great quality. One for your Amazon Wishlist.
Tamikrest have the following set of live dates coming up. You’re encouraged to go along to at least one of these dates as they are one of the best live acts in the world today.
- 16 October – GATESHEAD The Sage Hall Two
- 18 October – LEEDS Howard Assembly Room
- 19 October – WHITBY Musicport Festival
- 20 October – LONDON XOYO
- 21 October – NOTTINGHAM Djanogly Theatre
- 22 October – BRIGHTON Komedia
- 23 October – BRISTOL Colston Hall II
- 24 October – NORWICH Arts Centre
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.