Friends of the desert

" We sing for love, friendship, suffering, and the desert " this how Ibrahim replayed to the camera in the "AMADJAR" film. 
Ibrahim is the founder of Tinariwen, a collective as he liked to call. Everybody from the community has a right to write a song. Everybody also has a write to compose the tune. The band was made to promote collectivity and desert-loving. It sounds ridicules right? who can love the desert, as we always stick to our definition of life and we undervalue the definition of others? We are human whom we thought 100 years ago, that life stands behind technology and industry, the thoughts that devastated our planet.
Yes, Tinariwen sings for and defends the desert. Ibrahim, who saw his father slaughtered by the Malian army, when they were repressing the Tuareg uprising of Azwat. He then moved to a refugee camp where he formed the first the Tinariwen collective, it means desert in Tamashig. 

I made this introduction as everybody gets to know them as a great aesthetic, especially after their exotic appearance in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. But how many know about their political foundation and their struggles? How many do you know about them joining the uprising of the Tuareg in northern Mali until the peace agreement in 1990?
But now Tinarwen is taking a critical topic to the front line. The subject that we as Sahara African trying to ignore although that it is tied to our existence. The topic of mining, which is destroying and poisoning the land that lays in the borders between the Sahara and the tropical. In their album Elwan, Tinariwen abstracted the confrontation between the Sahara inhabitants and the mining, in a series of songs that empowering the Tuareg. 
In the song, Elwan itself  took a form of empowering as it goes 
Before me march the hills
Of Tiwayen and Tikobawen.
In a desert where shady spots
Can easily be found.
We went by the hill of Tissinawen
Making our way towards Tihoudayen,
To be there at dusk.
We’re the companions of Tinariwen,
And not like those
Who speak ill of others.
Elwan is a master song of the Album, Also as an introduction to the Tinarwen struggle. as you listen through the songs and you see how much they embrace friendship. Friendship as a value that made them surviving the rudeness of the desert, and harshness of the political system. 
The guitar is also a friend, comrade, and partner. Every Tinarwen member has his tuning. Tuning that doesn't ruin the collective harmony, rather than keeping a private relationship with the individual.
On their master Videoclip "Nànnuflày ", Tinariwen has shown this friendship encountered by the monster of mining. The Clip that ripped my heart when I got it. Although when I looked at the translation of the song,  I never found any relation to the mining. The song goes :

There was a time I lived fulfilled. 
Life taught me that It can often change. 
The one you find in solitude 
Is a prisoner of egotistical desires. 
I have a friend I can trust 
Who quenches the thirst That burns in my heart. 
I walk in his footsteps 
Pursuing memories built 
On a dune that's always moving. 
No sleepwalking, 
don't keep me apart I'm through sleepwalking, 
God be in my heart No more sleepwalking, 
been asleep too long 
No more sleepwalking, 
keep me with you go

It is a song about friendship and video about confronting mining. In the end, Tinariwen was telling us  " With friendship, collectivity we can reclaim the power "  and with the friendship, we can make a great base to absorb collective trauma.

Ilkam e-timtar
Illegh dara-s
Tedjedit tàhona
Iday fàlla-s

 Photo from Nànnuflày clip


Popular Posts