If you are lucky, you might know someone serving in the Peace Corp. If you are REALLY lucky, like me, you will have an individual who loves music as much as you do and she will be keen on sharing her music discoveries with her friends through her blog. So it is with my friend, Aly, who is stationed in Morocco. Besides being a marvelously entertaining young woman, she is generous with her knowledge and turned me on to a group called Tinariwen that is popular with the culture there. A video (below) was shared that explains the beginnings of this group and I had an epiphany as I watched it. The unimaginable hardship this group of desert people endured is beyond words and they rose up from the great depths of human despair singing and taking Africa by storm with their sound. I ordered the CD as soon as I could.
I have have been born into interesting times. That is usually a phrase used to suggest the fact that the times are so alarmingly trying that even to refer to how bad it is is an absurd understatement. Yet within my interesting times I have had the privilege of being a youngster just as the lip of the melting pot boiled over in popular culture in the States. I got to be a living witness to the excitement of hearing the very first strains of music never before gracing the world...The music of The Doors, Joni Mitchell, Iron Butterfly, Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix...Beatles...Rolling Stones...the list goes on. The very first thrill of hearing a sound that adds to your life in such a mysterious way as to forever alter your consciousness is HUGELY transformative! It is that listening place that I found myself in as I went through each cut of Tinariwen's, +10:1 Aman Iman. It must have been that way for the people of the desert to hear for the first time their ancient music performed with the edge of the times so acutely infused in it. They too perhaps were transformed into a new way to experience the world. I heard the raw edge of discovery woven into each song - the spawn of great healing and profound love.
I enjoy lyrics so not understanding the text of the message became an exercise in really listening to the music beyond the language of the Touareg. I discovered layers of the CD +10:1 Aman Iman: Water is Life by letting the music alone carry me to it's message. It was a tremendously satisfying experience. I can hear what Aly loved in this when she blogged about Tinariwen. To pick out the western influences and have it anchored so beautifully in the ancient cultural sounds of the desert was amazing to me as in this song, Assouf.
I hope you will take the 20 minutes to watch this documentary about the heroic and fascinating story behind these ancient Tuareg people, this band and their music. Their story is our story when it comes to how music moves people. The Tuareg are turning into the wind listening like Bedouins just as we are, in the west, down on our knees "listening like thieves". Whatever the culture, EVERYONE is at the well quenching their thirst for what speaks so deeply to our souls - the desire to hear the sound that answers what is there in us all. Music is a well where we can all meet in understanding and discovery.
As the Tuareg say, "the earth has only one sun". Treat yourself to the diversity that transcends and joins each of our journeys in our quest for peace and freedom. Support these artists; buy their music, listen to it and drink deep the mysterious love we somehow all share. Their popular song Cler Achel along with others will be on the top of the sidebar of my blog for the month of October. BssHa! (to your health!)
Kudos to Vox for the picture and IndependienteRecords for the Documentary.