Tassili

2012 Grammy Award for "Best World Music Album"

“The cosmic, roiling Afro-Arabic groove this North-African guitar band generates is like a sandstorm.”
- Rolling Stones (USA)

“One of the more moving music experience you can find these days.”
- Time Out NY (USA)

“Tinariwen has been acclaimed as possessors of the original DNA of rock'n'roll.”
- Daily Telegraph (UK)

  1. Imidiwan Ma Tennam

  2. Asuf D Alwa

  3. Tenere Taqqim Tossam

  4. Ya Messinagh

  5. Walla Illa

  6. Tameyawt

  7. Imidiwan Win Sahara

  8. Tamiditin Tan Ufrawan

  9. Aden Osamnat

  10. Tenidagh Hegh Djeredjere

  11. Swegh Attay

  12. Takest Tamidaret

LYRICS

English | French | Tamasheq

IMIDIWAN MA TENNAM (WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO SAY TO MY FRIENDS) 

What have you got to say, my friends
About this painful time we’re living through?
You’ve left this desert where you say you were born,
You’ve gone and abandoned it
We live in ignorance and it holds all the power
The desert is jealous and its men are strong
While it’s drying up, green lands exist elsewhere
We live in ignorance
And it holds all the power

ASSUF DALWA (LONGING AND LONELINESS) 

Longing and loneliness
Oh longing, loneliness and despair! I’m a prisoner of the present In moments of tribulation we share our suffering,
As we might share a glass of tea The hidden love I feel for that radiant face Lightens my melancholy and loneliness I go and see my friends The smoke speaks to me And my thoughts tell me tales 

 

TENERE TAQQIM TOSSAM (JEALOUS DESERT)

The desert is mine
Tenere, my homeland,
We come to you when the sun goes down
Leaving a trail of blood across the sky
Which the black night wipes out
The desert is hot and its water hard to find
Water is life and soul
To all my brothers I say, the desert is jealous!

O Tenere! A jealous desert!
Why can‘t you see? You are a treasure
I‘ve seen the world, I love you better
Oh Tenere! You are the treasure of my soul.

I cry out to God on High
To bring my people together
In unity

 

YA MESSINAGH (OH LORD)

Oh Lord, give me patience!
This life demands experience
Friends, fellow travellers,
You can kill me or you can let me live
But I will tell you something true
And this truth is precious to me
It has nestled in my lungs
Like a poison, my friends
Truth itself is always hard, unconquerable 
He who hears it can turn
Into a rebel

 

WALLA ILLA

I go quietly to pay Mizgawa a little visit
It’s better for a man to preserve his soulful nobility
And keep his memories safe
My anxieties drive me to cigarettes, full of illness
It’s better for a man to possess nobility of soul
And keep his memories safe 

 

TAMEYAWT (TAMEYAWT[i])

How I miss Tameyawt
His walls are baked of earth
His village has turned green again
And his mountain boulders are smooth and long
My homeland is Timyawin
Timetren to the opposite mountain slope
My country is Afara
And the wells at Assamalmal and Assawa
I’ll climb the mountain of Tarawant
And sacrifice a beautiful young goat up there
I’ll utter a joyful cry that will be heard
All the way to Tessalit. 

 

IMIDIWAN WIN SAHARA (MY FRIENDS FROM THE SAHARA)

My friends from the Sahara, our freedom is gone
Let’s unite, or else we shall all vanish
Not a single soul will be left alive in the desert 

 

TAMIDITIN TAN UFRAWAN (MY SECRETIVE GIRLFRIEND)

My secretive girl friend!
What have I ever done 
For her to provoke me so?
She goes off from camp to camp, talking to all and sundry
When love is rooted in the heart
Only spells can rip it out 

 

TILLIADEN OSAMNAT (GIRLS ARE JEALOUS)

By the grace of God,
Let me tell you that girls are jealous!
They’re jealous because
They haven’t found their independence.
They roam about towns and cities
Which are alien to them
Where their dreams will never come true.

 

DJEREDJERE (AT ROCK BOTTOM)

This year I’m at rock bottom
My soul is thirsty
Give me water
Where I lay down to rest, not a living soul stirs
I ask my demons to leave me in peace
Friendship has gone. Family has gone
There’s no certainty any more, no commitment
Today we are hemmed in on all sides
The mountains here, the two rivers over there
And I see no escape
Suffering is a thorn
That pierces the depths of my soul
I cry out to God, my creator,
Who loaded this world with such diversity
Who made something pure of love,
Which some display without sincerity
Hiding their treason behind a thousand faces

 

ISSWEGH ATTAY (I DRANK SOME TEA)

This pain is a burden
If only my cell would turn into an open plain.
I drank a glass of tea that scorched my heart.
You told me something and I never answered
But if we meet one day, I’ll remind you
This woman, who I glimpsed
Without even sitting down or kneeling
If only this cell could become as vast as a prairie
I’d fly off like a bird
The lion is intrepid and the frog is vulnerable
But the latter is better at finding the path to water. 

 

TAKEST TAMIDARET (SCORCHING AFTERNOON)

One scorching afternoon, I stretch my fingers and limbs
My skin burns like an incandescent fire log
I carry a brand new sword, all sharpened,
And a brand new rifle, all greased,
Loaded with a couple of bullets that bear bad news
And whistle like two migrating birds
As they fly over the teshaqq and agar trees
From which they get no nourishment.
I approach a group of men, all kitted out,
Who are listening to a tindé[ii] played by Lalla and Seyma
I lack the courage to go up to them
Because my saddle has been snatched away,
Yanked by the son of a woman of my age and height
I track him up through the only pass
That cuts between the mountains going west,
As one might track the prints of a female camel,
Followed by its child, whom no one has seen for a day.


[i] An inhabitant of Timyawin, a village in the Sahara, on the Algeria-Mali border. 

[ii] Traditional drum made of a mortar covered with goatskin.

Epitaph Records