TITLE: Aratan N Azawad
LABEL: World Village
REVIEW: This is the third album from this Malian desert blues trio (two electric guitars plus bass guitar, with percussion added). They’re sort of an offshoot of Tinariwen, the most famous desert blues band -- front man Diara is a featured guitarist in Tinariwen, the other two members are his nephews. And they sound a lot like a smaller version of the more famous group, without the female ululators and the multi-guitar raveups, but with the same crackling energy especially on tracks 1 and 2, which are as electric as any desert blues performances I’ve heard. The rest of the material is a bit mellower and more atmospheric, but no one could keep up that pace. Terakaft’s last album was one of my favorites of the year in 2008, and this one may be a contender in 2011. This is top-shelf desert blues, definitely worthy of your attention.
REVIEWER: Bill Lupoletti
TOP TRACKS: 1 2 7 9
ALSO RECOMMENDED: 3 5 6 8 10 11 12