Imidiwan: Companions


20019 Uncut Music Award

“Tinariwen just keep on keeping' on, relentless and brilliant as the Saharan sun,”
- The Guardian (UK)

  1. Imidiwan Afrik Tendam

  2. Lulla

  3. Tenhert

  4. Enseqi Ehad Didagh  5:40

  5. Tahult In

  6. Tamudjeras Assis

  7. Intitlayaghen

  8. Imazaghen N Adagh

  9. Tenalle Chegret

  10. Kel Tamashek

  11. Assuf Ag Assuf

  12. Chabiba

  13. Ere Tasfata Adounia


English | French | Tamasheq


My friends from all over Africa
I have a question, a question which torments my soul
Is the revolution like those trees
Whose branches will grow if we water them?
I have lived with this obsession for ten years
I have come amongst by brothers
My friends, what do you think?
These men have been living with oppression
Since the day of their birth
They cannot make the trees grow with their water



I went to see Lulla, who’s wearing nylon
I went to see Bajou, the situation is hard
I went to see Soro, and then came back from Soro’s
I went to see Mizgawa, she’s seated and elegant
I went to see El Xafra, where the pious do their ablutions
I went to see Tina, she says “there’s no more!”
I went to see Abnousou, it was raining
I went to see Rati, a girl with a temper! 



The doe of Azuzawa is so radiant
She was leaving Tin Ardjan before the rains
Following the Tashalghé river westwards, towards some striking camels
Who came from the Awaji family, more beautiful than nine fawns
Bolting to the top of the hill where the rock pools are green
Accept my salutation, and plenty of questions
In the name of the truth which is in God
Did you hear about the day of the confrontation?
Which deserves bravery, praises and universal recognition
There where there is a coward, find him among the men
With your eyes, let him known how little you respect him
As for the brave, they are marked with an indelible seal



I lie down tonight, my eyes in amongst the stars
My thoughts hang over me like the roof of the tent and carry me away
I imagine you, I think of you
I fly and I have no wings with which to land
Your memory is next to me
Whenever we meet, you fill up my thoughts
I have travelled for days across the desert of anxiety
I’m thirsty, parched, my heart and my soul crave water. 



I salute the men, without saying their names
I choose the revolutionaries, and steer clear of traitors
We watch the gentlewomen climbing the mountains carrying their children on their back
You’ve heard tell of Kaocen’s battle, he who fought until the Arabs killed him



Regret is like a worm, anxiety is like war
For my youth which I wasted
I touched incandescence, I burned everything whole
I set fire to myself, I became like cinders
I wasted so much time with futile things
Getting mixed up with lies, with schemes, and with treachery
When I was a child, I was determined
When I was a child, already, I was disconnected
I lived beyond the news of the world, I wasted everything



This Intitlayaghen, who belongs to Eljamat
When he goes to the tindé* with his distinguished air
With his robed and rolling gait
Mass’oud the calf, Sinan the baby camel
Have been free for one year now in their place 



Touareg of the Adar, wake up! Rise up and show yourselves!
Rise up and show yourselves openly, with sincerity
My brothers, you have no more work!  What does that mean?
All you can do is look on at this terrible situation
You don’t even understand the confidence you possess
Once you rode upon the camel’s saddle



The revolution is a long thread,
Easily twisted, hard to stretch
I patch up the desert, the great desert
The discord and hate, which is becoming widespread there
I’m ready to die, my rifle and I
The desert is thirsty, searching for freedom
Those who desired to lead have failed the mission
In which the martyrs have died, searching for freedom



Tamashek people, open yours eyes
Tamashek people, wake up
We’re in a word that’s moving fast
He who doesn’t pay heed will be lost
He who isn’t careful will be lost
Nothing will come back
Please, Tamashek people, rise up!
Please, listen to one another
Great ignorance
Is the sole cause of suffering and loss
An old woman who doesn’t
command a turban to be worn….
The young woman
understands everything
Here’s a hidden meaning that you must appreciate 


That night I slept somewhere between Imaghran and Hadjus
I, son of the north…I, son of the south
When the sun sets, assuf comes to me
I am leaving today, and yesterday I departed too
I went with the ardent wind
When I passed by a thirsty tree, which was loosing its flowers 

Assuf, son of Assuf, whose shadow comes to me when the sun sets
Assuf, I’m so sure that we are tied hard together in friendship
I make him my friend, from whom I will never be separated, awake or asleep
My friends, abandon your illusions, fear too much desire
Don’t even try to engrave the traces on a stone



I won’t forget the youth of my country
With whom I shared my youth 

I’ll never forget my friends, wherever I may be
I’ll never forget my parents and my sisters to whom I love 

I won’t forget the freedom fighters of my country
I won’t forget my memories and my sisters 

I’ll never forget my friends, wherever I may be
I’ll never forget my parents and my sisters to whom I love



Tell him, who values life
Let him know that life is like a flow on an arid plateau
Flowing sometimes a night, where at dawn not even the dew remains
Louni, know that my heart is dry
And black like the raven’s wing
For me, you cradle it already
Following it’s traces is a hard struggle
He who wants to survive this path must never betray


[1] ‘Imazaghen’ (pronounced ‘Im-Az-Arr-En’) literally means ‘The Free Men’ but it is also the collective noun with which the Touareg refer to themselves.   They actually never use the word ‘Touareg’ which is Arabic and therefore imposed by outsiders.  ‘Adagh’ (pronounced ‘Ad-Arr’) means ‘mountain’ and is the name given to the region in northwestern Mali where Tinariwen come from.


[2] ‘Assuf’ is one of those big Tamashek words with a deep and complex meaning.   It can mean loneliness, homesickness, anxiety, worry, emotional or spiritual pain, longing, nostalgia.  It also means everything out in the darkness beyond the warmth and companionship of the camp fire.  

Epitaph Records