Tinariwen in Toronto – A Review

March 6, 2010 at 8:01 pm (Uncategorized)

I’ve been going to see live music for over thirty years. The first one was the Stranglers in September 1979 on The Raven Tour. There’s just something about being in the audience that a record never really captures.

So on Thursday last, I made my way down to the Phoenix concert theatre in Toronto to see Tinariwen. I mentioned in last month’s Music Notes that I discovered this band on a Mojo compilation and immediately fell in love with them.

I admit I really had no idea of who would be there. When I first started to see bands, I was younger than the performers. then the same age, now older. Audiences too. Still, at this show there were quite a few people older than me (quite a few younger as well). I saw little advertising for this, but the show looked sold out to me. And as an interesting side now, Toronto’s Now which presents itself as a hipper than thou  sensitive to other sounds etc, did nothing to promote this. Sure it took a few ads, but no interview. Not even a mention in the not to be missed column, although hilariously it’s in the club listing as recommended. Really, but you? You’d never know.

Tinariwen formed in Mali in 1979, and to date they have released four albums: The Radio Tisdale Sessions, Amassakoul, Aman Iman and Imidiwan.

 The band took the stage about 9:30: Four men and a women in traditional North African clothing. Two guitars, bass, drums. No stage set to speak of.

  And then it began. What sound to my ears to be African sounds, but with a bluesy guitar as well. The combination is irresistable.Strangely though at different times it sounded as though all the members were playing different songs. No, no, I don’t mean it was a mess, but it was something I was unused to.

But at about the 15 minute mark, just as they were joined by Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, they upped their game. The sounds blended into one hypnotic stew. A friend of mine maintains that the moment you look at your watch is the moment the concert is over. I didn’t look at mine until the final song ninety minutes into their set (they also played a 15 minute encore).


Check out this clip


Post script

I just discovered this review, which has amazing photos and the set list.


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