Toumastin by Tamikrest

Tamikrest are one of the newer bands who play in the style tagged by westerners as ‘Desert Blues’ – and by ‘blues’, we mean what the songs are about rather than the actual sound of the music, which is mostly played on electric guitars. Like the well-known band Tinariwen, these nomadic West African Saharan musicians are concerned with political struggles, a cultural life seriously under threat and the battle to survive in a very harsh environment. Probably the main difference between these two bands is that Tamikrest is more raucous and inclined to add tasty layers of distortion (like on the attention-grabbing opening number, with its wah wah pedal workout).

This is African music with a rock attitude – and it’s not merely for World Music or African music listeners. A big help here is the stewardship of Chris Eckman, from American indie Americana rockers the Walkabouts. Eckman befriended the band a few years ago at the annual Festival of the Desert cultural event and along with a few like-minded musicians, he steered the very interesting Dirt Music project of last year, a hugely enjoyable crossover album, where desert blues met rocking guitars and the odd Velvet Undergound cover. Toumastin also features a beautiful and all too brief acoustic interlude, with some wonderful acoustic guitar-picking.

Paul Barr is from Readings Carlton

Cover image for Toumastin



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