Recently I attended a program called "Voices for the Earth throughout the World" at the United Nations Plaza, a program of music presented by children of many nationalities from NYC area schools and daycares. There I picked up an issue of the United Nations Environment Programme magazine, TUNZA, which featured an article on a truly amazing band.

Tinariwen are a group of nomadic Touaregs from northeastern Mali who originally formed in one of Muammar Qadhafi's rebel camps in the early 80s. Their name means "empty spaces" and that's the feeling you get when you listen to their music: it's sorta like Mississippi Blues filtered through hot Saharan sands. Actually, they sound like what Page and Plant were shooting for on their No Quarter album, only dustier, more of-the-earth.

Aman Iman (which translates to "Water is Life") is Tinariwen's third album, and it continues their exploration of musical links between Arabic rhythms and a blues backbeat, between traditional flutes and droning guitar licks, between ancient isolation and the modern world. Explore their website and check out their history and their beliefs and causes. Mesmerizing rock from a brilliant, deeply political, cosmically mysterious band.

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