With their third album, Tamikrest consolidate their “Tuareg rock” style. Band leader Ousmana Ag Mossa grew up listening to rap, metal and Western pop music and since their first album in 2008, he and his seven-strong guitar outfit deliver a rock’n’roll package that finds audiences even outside the world music scene that has adopted the older and better-known Tuareg band Tinariwen as its heroes.
Tamikrest’s sound is smoother and more accessible than Tinariwen’s. But it still exudes the magic trance of the desert, while adding Western influences such as garage beats, dub, funk and even art rock.
And as Chatma (Sisters) is completely dedicated to Tuareg women, it is more than appropriate that songstress Wonou Walet Sidati (back-up vocalist with Tinariwen when they were formed) adds her crystal-clear vocals to the rather low-range and confined ones of Ousmane Ag Mossa on some tracks.
And while I still dither over whether the sing-along rock track Imanin bas zihoun or the faster-paced Takma with its loping rock guitar grooves is my favourite song, you might easily find other personal favourites; maybe the highly psychedelic Assikal, the scintillating Achaka Achail… or the melancholic Timtar.
In these (partly self-inflicted) hard times for the Tuareg people, perhaps music like this can help them to retain their dignity and pride and to persevere while hoping for a better future.