Amatssou by TinariwenRelease date: May 19, 2023
Label: Wedge Records
Some artists that are given the tag of world music (should cover the whole world, shouldn’t it) transcend the limitations of the genre itself and catch the ears and imagination of the listeners that usually don’t listen to the genre itself that often.
One such artist is the Tuareg musical collective Tinariwen, whose series of albums full of intricate electric guitar fills and multi-vocals has transcended the term of world music, which many listeners reserve for non-western and non-English language music.
This time around, on their ninth album Amatssou, Tinariwen, simultaneously, both retain their original sound and expand on it simultaneously.
On the one hand, due to Covid, the band recorded the main part of the material in the makeshift studio in an oasis camp in Mauritania, and on the other, added American country instrumentation – pedal steel guitar, banjo, and fiddle, courtesy of Daniel Lanois, album’s producer, and pedal steel guitar playing on the album, as well as country musicians Fats Kaplin and Wes Corbett recording their parts in Nashville and Kabyle percussionist Amar Chaoui recording his in Paris.
And while you can feel the added non-Tuareg touches throughout, they are more of an underpinning than something that dominates the music here, which retains the original Tinariwen sound and spirit, still dominated by that ever-present intricate guitar sound.