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Aman Iman - Water Is Life

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Album Review

Hand it to Tinariwen. Like the nomads they are, they don't stand still musically. On their third album (the title translates as Water Is Life), they keep the root intact, the desert blues still at the heart of all they do, but this builds upon what they achieved on their superb sophomore disc, happily restless and unafraid of walking down new paths. However, although they're rightly lauded for their widescreen blues sound, what emerges most here is something they hinted at on the last record — they're a remarkable rock & roll band, too. The guitars, locked together in rhythm and lead, create a glorious syncopated noise that puts most rockers to shame. But there's a wonderful looseness to the sound (kudos to producer Justin Adams), in part due to the fact that these tracks were all recorded over just two weeks, a tiny time frame by today's standards. Recorded in the Malian capital of Bamako, these songs arrive with dust on their boots and a little thirsty. The studio touches are subtle, a little on the effects here and there, but never detract from the music — which even features old member Mohammed Ag Itlale, whose voice and guitar can be heard on several tracks.

Customer Reviews

Desert troubadours dust off their best one yet!

Just listen how the electric guitars kick in over the bass riff. These Touareg rockers from the Sahara know how to do desert blues. Many members of the band – swathed in blue turbans and long robes – have fought an armed struggle for cultural recognition and they know literally that water is life. Their music pulsates with camel-lope rhythms, raw vocals, dynamic hand claps and jangling electric guitars. The latest in desert cool.

Music is Life

Blues of the desert. Not original, but listen to this and the unstructured blues of John Lee Hooker and you can feel the musical link despite the geographical separation. Let the guitar licks wash over you, ever building the tension and atmosphere. I read them described as a 25 year jam session. Well I wish I was there! I am sure this does not compare to hearing them set up their amps in the desert landscape, but until I have the fortune to do that, this is the next best thing.

Gives a new meaning to world music.

I downloaded 'Cler Achel' a few months back when it was iTunes free single of the week, and I must say it was one of the best songs I've ever downloaded. The sound is so unique - almost gives the genre a new identity. If you are looking for an album that has diversity; individuality and meaning then Aman Iman is the album for you.


Formed: 1979 in Azawad, Mali

Genre: World

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Tinariwen is a Tuareg group that performs a guitar-centric branch of Malian music that, to the untrained ear, is reminiscent of Ali Farka Touré's, but is far more rock-oriented and percussive. All of the band's musicians originate from the southern Sahara; the group's name, meaning "empty places," is a reflection of their land of origin. The band formed in the rebel camps of Colonel Gaddafi, as each of the musicians had been forced from their nomadic lifestyle into involuntary military service. Surrounded...
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Aman Iman - Water Is Life, Tinariwen
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