Tinariwen (plural of ténéré "desert") is a band of Tuareg-Berber musicians from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali. The band's fifth album Tassili, released in 2011, won the Award for Best World Music Album at the 54th Grammy Awards.
Formed in 1982, in strikingly unusual circumstances for a musical ensemble, Tinariwen blend ancient musical traditions with radical contemporary politics. Despite severe natural and man-made hardships, young Kel Tamashek exiles continued performing the traditional music of their Tuareg forebears in the southern Sahara while simultaneously fighting against the government of Mali.
Forced to seek an alternative to starvation and repression in drought-stricken Mali, many of these young nomads hoped to attain a better life by striking up what proved to be an uneasy alliance with Libya. T...