Tuareg band Tinariwen’s “Amatssou” topped the August Transglobal World Music Chart.

Some people have commented that Tinariwen have always been a country band, albeit a North African take on that most North American of genres. That idea is magnified on new album Amatssou, which finds the Tuareg band’s trademark snaking guitar lines and hypnotic rhythms blending seamlessly with pedal steel, piano and strings from guest musicians including Daniel Lanois, the embellished arrangements lending the songs an epic, universal application.

Full of poetic allegory, the lyrics call for unity and freedom. There are songs of struggle and resistance with oblique references to the recent desperate political upheavals in Mali and the increasing power of the Salafists. “Dear brothers all rest, all leisure will always be far from reach unless your homeland is liberated and all the elders can live there in dignity,” Ibrahim Ag Alhabib sings on ‘Arajghiyine.’ The album’s title Amatssou is Tamashek for ‘Beyond The Fear’ and it fits – Tinariwen have always been characterised by their fearlessness – and as Bob Dylan once said, the power of rock’n’roll is that it makes us “oblivious to the fear” as the music gives us the strength and resilience to confront adversity.

In the two decades since Tinariwen emerged from their base in the African desert to tour the globe, they have got to know many renowned country, folk, and rock musicians from the USA including Kurt Vile, Stephen O’Malley, Jack White, and Wilco. Tuareg nomads and cowboy drifters. Camel trains and mustang horses. The timeless horizon of the endless Sahara and the wild frontier of the Old West – several thousand miles of ocean may divide the desert blues of Tinariwen and the authentic country music of rural America but the links are as palpable as they are romantic. 

Top albums August 2023:

  1. Tinariwen · Amatssou · Wedge [40]
  2. Kayhan Kalhor and Toumani Diabaté · The Sky Is the Same Colour Everywhere · Real World [2]
  3. Bokanté · History · Real World [8]
  4. Fatoumata Diawara · London Ko · 3ème Bureau / Wagram Music [1]
  5. Bantu · What Is Your Breaking Point? · Soledad Productions [11]
  6. Damir Imamović · The World and All That It Holds · Smithsonian Folkways Recordings [4]
  7. Ali Farka Touré · Voyageur · World Circuit [3]
  8. Omara Portuondo · Vida · One World [7]
  9. Saîdê Goyî · Jinê · Saîdê Goyî [12]
  10. Blick Bassy · Madiba · InFiné [6]
  1. Wilson das Neves · Senzala e Favela · FundiSom [-]
  2. Jawa · Last Breaths from Aleppo · Muziekpublique [13]
  3. Mari Kalkun · Stories of Stonia · Real World [-]
  4. Baaba Maal · Being · Marathon Artists [5]
  5. Seckou Keita with BBC Concert Orchestra · African Rhapsodies: A Work for Kora and Symphonic Orchestra · Claves [10]
  6. Eliades Ochoa · Guajiro · World Circuit [9]
  7. Shono · Kolkhozoy Traktor · CPL-Music / CPL-Musicgroup [15]
  8. La Cantiga de la Serena · La Novia · Zero Nove Nove [23]
  9. Cantares del Pacífico · Aguajes de Mar y Manglar · Chaco World Music [-]
  10. Matthieu Saglio · Voices · ACT [17]
  1. Frigg · Perintö / Heritage · Bafe’s Factory [19]
  2. Dudu Tassa & Jonny Greenwood · Jarak Qaribak · World Circuit [28]
  3. Inna Baba Coulibaly · Djilly Kawral · Remote / Studio Mali [16]
  4. Rastak · Essentials · Rastak [18]
  5. Mehmet Polat Trio · Embodied Poetry · Aftab / AudioMaze [-]
  6. Sissoko, Segal, Parisien, Peirani · Les Égarés · Nø Førmat [29]
  7. Inna de Yard · Family Affair · Chapter Two / Wagram [36]
  8. Lankum · False Lankum · Rough Trade [34]
  9. Tony Allen & Adrian Younge · Tony Allen JID018 · Jazz Is Dead [-]
  10. Son Palenque · Itan Pa’loyo · Palenque [-]
  1. V.A. · Taa! Our Language May Be Dying, but Our Voices Remain · Glitterbeat [27]
  2. Oghlan Bakhshi · Across the Steppes · Felmay [-]
  3. Pausis · Pausis · Seikilo Ancient World Music [-]
  4. Al Bilali Soudan · Babi · Clermont Music [14]
  5. Faizal Mostrixx · Mutations · Glitterbeat [-]
  6. Balamuc · Tarkabarka · Balamuc [-]
  7. Balimaya Project · When the Dust Settles · New Soil x Jazz re:freshed [-]
  8. V.A. · Made in Zemo Alvani: Batsbi (Tsova Tushetian) Music from Georgia · Antonovka [-]
  9. Okwy Osadebe and Highlife SoundMakers International · Igbo Amaka · Palenque / Odogwu Entertainment [31]
  10. Tri Nguyen · Duos Alone · Naxos World [-]


Spotify playlist

Founder members and administrators Transglobal World Music Chart

Ángel Romero (US), Araceli Tzigane (ES), Juan Antonio Vázquez (ES)

Current active members:

Alexis Herrería (MX), Rosângela Britto (BR), Ula Nowak (PL), Liana Cisneros (PE), Banning Eyre (US), Magda Tejchma (PL), Seth Jordan (AU), Tony Hillier (AU), Charlie Crooijmans (NL), Nigel Wood (IE), Dore Stein (US), Roger Holdsworth (AU), Madan Rao (IN), Gil Medovoy (US), Chris Heim (US), Ciro De Rosa (IT), Scott Stevens (US), Hendrick T S Foh (MY), Cliff Furnald (US), Rob Weisberg (US), Toni Polo (FR/ES), Nicolás Falcoff (AR), Masakazu Kitanaka (JP), Jordi Demésenllà (ES), Rafael Mieses (DO/US), Luís Rei (PT), Jean Trouillet (DE), Evangeline Kim (US), Willi Klopottek (LU/DE), Alejandro López (ES), Jon Kertzer (US), Ken Stowar (CA), Jiří Moravčík (CZ), Mu Qian (CN), Carlos Ferreira (PT), Gil Rouvio (IL), Bouna Ndiaye (SN/US), Kutay Derin Kuğay (TR), Robert Gregor (SK), Yatrika Shah-Rais (IR/US), Armen Manukyan (AM), Rolf Beydemüller (DE), François Bensignor (FR), Eleni Ziliaskopoulou (GR), Marija Vitas (RS), Jaïr Tchong (BE), Enrique Blanc (MX), Tiago Lucas Garcia (BR), Zekeriya S. Şen (TR), Benjamín Muñiz (PR), Daryana Antipova (RU), Mika Kauhanen (FI), Luisa Piñeros (CO), Toni Pennacchia (US), Chen Hanzi (CN), Takuya “Salam” Unagami (JP), Janaína Ávila (BR), Roger Short (UK), Ankur Malhotra (IN)

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