“Malian musicians in California playing riffs that Robert Johnson would sell his soul for, again.”
- NME 8/10 (UK)
“It's a pleasure to hear how Tinariwen keeps finding new ways to translate the soul of the Sahara.”
- NPR (USA)
“This album will rock your brain, psychedelic!”
- Les Inrockuptibles (France)
Timadrit In Sahara
Imidiwan Ahi Sigdim
Imdiwanin ahi Tifhamam
Koud Edhaz Emin
Aghregh Medin (Hassan’s song)
(Bonus tracks are only on vinyl)
Adounia Ti Chidjret
Islegh Taghram Tifhamam
featuring Saul Williams, Josh Klinghoffer from The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fats Kaplin and Matt Sweeney.
I followed their tracks, drowned out by the rain,
Disorientated, without points of reference
In space or time,
My camel bogged-down, knee-deep
Overcome with regret,
Like a mother-camel pining for its young.
ADOUNIA TI CHIDJRET (The World is Vast)
The world is vast and in perpetual motion
My love finds no place in it.
Who could love this world?
The use of my sword is mindful.
Is this world alive or dead?
If it exists: what shape is it?
My heart is lost and cannot find itself in it.
TIN IHLAN ([THE GIRL] WITH THE BEAUTY SPOTS)
If I was with the spotted one, the well braided beauty, near a spring,
Seated in the shade of trees, until the moon appeared
With its stockade of stars.
You uttered a word that I wouldn’t know how to say.
At our next encounter, I’ll remind you of it.
This woman I was inclining to, said to me,
Just as I was half-sitting half-crouching:
Be off with you;
What do you want at this hour?
Your quest is pretty futile!
SENDAD EGHLALAN (This constant lethargy)
Rid yourselves of this constant lethargy
That annihilates body and soul.
Men of my country,
You’re getting it all wrong,
You’re always dozing,
You run around without knowing what you’re getting into
For years, you’ve been engrossed and seduced
By a world that’s forever advancing
Without being able to grasp it.
IMIDIWAN AHI TIFHAMAM (Friends, understand me!)
Friends, companions, understand me
Don’t think that I’m about to show any weakness.
I danced with a partridge, light brown of colour.
She flew off thinking I would never be able to look again.
All youthful gatherings from which she’s absent
Leave me indifferent, like a passing breeze.
Her hair is as black as her eyebrows.
IMIDIWAN AHI SIGDIM (Friends, Hear Me!)
Friends, companions, hear my truth
And my conviction
These banishments that befall us
Bring no joy, neither to my heart
Nor to that of the youth.
You suffer the bitterness of that oppression,
Which annihilated the old folk
On whom you counted,
And tortures the soul of the heart
That knows no hatred.
KOUD EDHAZ EMIN (Even If I Seem to Smile)
Even if I seem to be smiling
My heart is chapped and cracked.
It’s been years since I’ve lived in my worries.
You never learn a thing
You never impart a thing.
You incubate hatred all the while.
My brothers, why all the misunderstanding
In this arid desert strewn with dead trees.
My brothers, is there anything more delightful
Than being distracted and engrossed
In the middle of a tindé and iswat (1)
ARHEGH DANAGH (I Want to Tell)
Friends and fellow travellers, I want to tell you
That what touches the heart cannot be hidden
And all that enters it will wound.
Today’s love is like a mirage.
The closer you get, the further away it goes.
It’s been ten years since love left me,
Since it deserted my soul
And no longer crosses my path.
ISLEGH TAGHRAM TIFHAMAM (I’ve Heard That You’re Educated and Know)
I’ve heard that you’re well educated
And know the ways of the world.
You have an arcane history,
Of whose existence the world is aware.
You can never hope to achieve anything
Without constant commitment.
The tears of the children and elders
Make my heart lament.
The tears of the old with no animal wealth
Who transport their children about with them,
Burn my heart.
They carry them patiently,
Waiting for a better tomorrow,
Looking for water in wells,
That are both deep and dry.
Last night, when I dreamt about Tahalmoyt,
Of her elegant appearance, nonchalant at dusk
In the middle of the tents,
I grabbed hold of Ebazaw and harnessed my saddle to him,
Not any just old one; it belonged to Agadez.
I donned Alacho, my most beautiful indigo turban,
And my two boubou robes.
I replaced the bolt of my padlock.
I acted like a nobleman who doesn’t hide himself away
I perfumed myself with musk and incense
I belted myself with wool and silk
I passed through a valley where the Tihardanen (2) played.
They made me feel happy,
And I arrived at the camp above Timadjlalen.
TOUMAST TINCHA (The People Have Been Sold Out)
The ideals of the people have been sold off cheap, my friends.
Any peace imposed by force is bound to fail
And give way to hatred.
My people, where is that self-confidence
Made of dignity and beauty of spirit
That our ancestors bequeathed to us?
God can bear witness when I think of Chaghaybou,
The pain in the stomach that takes hold of me
Has no other remedy than a heart-to-heart with him late a night.
I love him and I love those he loves, into the life beyond.
I pine for those handsome and brave wearers of double turbans!
Amongst them Ahmad, Hamad Ahad and their friend, Chaghaybou:
The same who dine on grilled ram.
When I glimpse him dressed in his beautiful robes
Smelling of a mixture of perfumes…
His headdress crested, giving him the air of gazelles
That race through dunes strewn with desert gourds.
If only I could become a stand in his mother’s tent,
That way I would never miss a moment he inhabits
Especially those when his mother is teaching him Tifinagh (3)
In the sand.
AGHREGH MEDIN (I Call on Man)
I call upon the wisdom of the people of knowledge.
Opinions battle each other
And I no longer believe in unity.
I will only believe in it again if
Those opinions serve a common ideal:
That of the people from which they emanate.
TIMADRIT IN SAHARA (Youth of the Sahara)
Youth of the Sahara
We’re telling you how it is.
You mustn’t doubt our aptitude
Or think we’re incapable.
That world out there is more advanced
And more powerful than we are,
Because it awoke before we did.
Now we will awake ourselves.
We’ve learned how to use other weapons
Than those our ancestors bequeathed to us.
English Translations by Andy Morgan
(1) Tindé is both a traditional Tamashek drum played by women and a form of traditional call and response music performed at traditional feasts and gatherings. Iswat is poetry chanted over music.
(2) Plural of teherdent, a three-stringed lute played by Touareg artisans and griots, very similar to the ngoni of the Manding and Songhoi.
(3) Tifinagh is the ancient alphabet of the Kel Tamashek or Touareg people.