January 7, 2019

Tartit | Amankor / The Exile

ARTIST: Tartit
TITLE: Amankor / The Exile
LABEL: Riverboat
We tend to think of desert blues as music that was sprung, fully formed, on an unsuspecting world. But desert blues didn’t start with wailing guitars – like any genres it has roots, and Tartit embodies those roots. The traditional music of the Tamasheq is made by women (desert blues, on the other hand, is dominated by men) who sing and play tinde, a wooden bowl covered in goatskin that doubles as a mortar for grinding grain, and imzad, a one-stringed gourd fiddle. Tartit (“Union” in the Tamasheq language) is fronted by four women, led by Fadimata Walet Oumar aka Disco, with five veiled men (in Tamasheq society men wear veils and women’s faces are uncovered) backing them up on teherdent (the Tuareg ngoni), flute and guitars. This is Tartit’s fourth album but their first since 2006’s Abacabok – the Northern Mali conflict disbursed the band’s members from their home base in the Tombouctou region to southern Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. Time and separation has only made their music stronger and more rooted to the traditional desert culture that’s being eradicated by drought, religious war, border conflicts and other 21st century menaces.
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