Tinariwen

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Formed in 1979, Tinariwen is a group of Tuareg musicians from northern Mali. The band was formed in Tamanrasset, Algeria, but returned to Mali after a cease-fire in the Tuareg Rebellion. Their popularity as a band rose with the album The Radio Tisdas Sessions and Aman Iman. The Radio Tisdas Sessions was their first album to be on CD and their first to be distributed worldwide. The band was founded by Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, who saw his father executed in the Mali uprising of 1963. He later picked up playing Tuareg music along with Arabic pop when he constructed his own guitar out of a stick, a tin can, and a brake wire from a bicycle. Other band members include a collection of many different songwriters, vocalists, and musicians. Because of the difficulties of transportation, communication, and the nomadic lifestyle of the Tuareg people, these artists came together and fell away in different combinations throughout the history of the band. The sound of Tinariwen is driven mostly by a guitar style of the Tuareg culture. The style has roots in West African music, especially from along the Niger River area. Main elements of Tinariwen's music are comprised of rhythm and melodies of the traditional Tuareg culture, but other influences include pop rai music, pop of Egypt, Bollywood, and western influences such as Santana, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Don Williams, and Bob Dylan. Tinariwen's music can be described as a far distant relative to the blues from the influence of the West African culture, though the band claimed to have never heard blues music until 2001 when they began to tour internationally.