(via Terakaft | Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center | International | Chicago Reader)
“Mesmerizing north African guitar band Terakaft named their fourth and best record, Kel Tamasheq [on iTunes]…Adams has brought a new clarity to the cycling guitar licks and stabs, clopping percussion, and syncopated hand claps, and he joins some folks from Maghreb-influenced French band Lo’Jo to contribute extra guitar and background vocals. But that’s not to say the four members of Terakaft need help—they’re a seasoned unit, driving their arid grooves and nasal incantations with an implacable sense of purpose.”
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While it’s amazing how interesting these guys can make a one-chord jam, this isn’t all just long, mesmerizingly cyclical vamps. Although that is how they start the album; a spare, lingering guitar phrase opens it, then they’re off and scampering with an unusual force and drive for this kind of music. Credit producer Justin Adams for beefing up the rhythm section and allowing for separation between the guitars, which enhances the psychedelic factor….
The third track has an unexpectedly bouncy soukous influence; the one after that sounds like a Tuareg response to noir cabaret, with its catchy riffage and ba-bump rhythm. After that, the band goes into a more low-key, dusky, traditional desert atmosphere, then follows that with the briskly walking Imad Halan, a broadside directed at the fundamentalists who’ve fueled the catastrophic civil war raging in Mali.
They then return to a warmer, hypnotic desert blues vibe, which picks up when they segue into the gorgeously pensive, visceral longing of Imidiwan Sajdat Ahi, which reaches for a psychedelic, polyrhythmic, intertwining sound that evokes the Grateful Dead, especially as it speeds up at the end. From there, they keep the bracingly modal, polyrhythmic pulse, then sway soulfully through a glimmering nocturne and then the album’s catchiest number, a straight-up rock song, its precise, careful guitar leads resonating over a steady backbeat: it’s the most western thing here. They end the album with a return to sparser, duskier ambience.
Terakaft gets 4 Stars in Songlines Magazine!
October World Village releases
Tuareg band Terakaft return with new songs in their own distinctive Saharan sound. Kel Tamasheq is the follow up to 2011’s “Aratan N Azawad”, a Songlines Top of the World disc praised by the likes of the Financial Times, Uncut Magazine, fRoots and Rhapsody. 2008’s “Akh Issudar” was a Best Album of the Year on NPR, The Village Voice, Emusic and Pitchfork. This new undertaking is produced by JUSTIN ADAMS - Robert Plant guitarist, Tinariwen producer, and World Village artist - who proves a good match for the band’s raw, authentic style.
“Nearly 30 years after first hearing the sounds of a kora, I found myself in Dakar for the first time last year, invited to the compound of the famous Griot family, the Cissokhos. In a sandy side street lit by bright sunlight was a band overflowing from the compound. Drums of every shape and size, a whole kora section, balafons, ngonis and guitars plugged into a makeshift P.A., a beautifully dressed female backing chorus and formidable lead singers with voices of poise and power. The music on Diabel Cissokho’s Kanabory Siyama represents what was so moving about that visit. Groove, melody and soul - and those voices hitting you like an Atlantic wave. It’s irresistible.” - Justin Adams, 2012
Founded in the wake of Tinariwen’s success, Terakaft have inevitably operated under the shadow of their elder Saharan cousins. Kel Tamasheq, their fourth album, brings a more distinctive identity to their desert blues. The serpentine guitar riffs, insistent handclaps, massed chants and rolling grooves remain intact, but their sound is less cluttered (and often less forlorn) than Tinariwen’s. Producer Justin Adams brings subtle sonic expertise to tracks such as the shimmering Awa Adounia and friends from French group Lo’Jo add female voices and violin elsewhere. Completed before the conflict in north Mali, numbers such as Tirera and Imad Halan starkly evoke the terror of war.
(via WRIR’s GLOBAL A GO-GO: Terakaft | Kel Tamasheq)
“Terakaft (“Caravan” in the Tamasheq language) is a four-piece desert rock band from northern Mali; this is their fourth studio album. They’re closely aligned with the more famous Tinariwen – guitarist-vocalist Liya Ag Ablil (aka Diara) was a member for 20 years, his two nephews flank him as singers, guitarists (electric and bass) and songwriters, and all three have performed on recent Tinariwen albums. Terakaft’s sound is also aligned with that of their more famous countrymen, although the smaller Terakaft tends to be more simple and direct. Some of Terakaft’s material is slow and introspective, but for my money where they really excel is on the more driving material like the four most highly recommended tracks. I do think that the best rock music in the world today is being made in the Sahara Desert – these bands have the energy, intensity and directness of communication that has made classic rock (everything from garage to punk to grunge) classic. Terakaft is one of the best of these bands, and this album, simply and cleanly produced by Justin Adams (JuJu, Robert Plant’s Strange Sensations), shows them off to their best advantage. Excellent!”
RELEASE DATE CORRECTION: New Terakaft album Kel Tamasheq - produced by Justin Adams - is out on World Village on October 9.
Tuareg band Terakaft return with new songs in their own distinctive Saharan sound. Kel Tamasheq is the follow-up to 2011’s Aratan N Azawad, a Songlines Top of the World disc praised by the likes of the Financial Times, Uncut Magazine, fRoots and Rhapsody. Their World Village debut, 2008’s Akh Issudar, was a Best Album of the Year on NPR, The Village Voice, Emusic and Pitchfork, among others.
Led by Liya Ag Ablil (aka Diara), a founding member of Tinariwen, Terakaft recount the story of Africa’s last remaining nomads. Having recently claimed their territory as the independent country of Azawad, the tuareg people continue to struggle for recognition from the Malian government and the outside world. The title “Kel Tamasheq” – “those who speak Tamasheq” - refers specifically to the tuareg, and the music reflects their struggle and the hope for peace in the Sahara.
Kel Tamasheq is produced by Justin Adams - Robert Plant guitarist, Tinariwen producer, and World Village artist - who is also a guest guitarist on the album. Other guests include sisters Nadia and Yamina Nid El Mourid (vocals) and Richard Bourreau (imzad) from the band Lo’Jo.
Kel Tamasheq reaffirms the fact that, while “so much in this style gets by on groove and attitude, Terakaft have variety, musicianship and well-crafted melodies on their side.” (fRoots)
A new Terakaft album Kel Tamasheq - produced by Justin Adams - is out on World Village on September 11!