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African Soul Rebels


Taghreft Tinariwen meaning 'building up of countries' first performed in the Lybian barracks before moving on to play at traditional celebrations and youth parties of the Touareg.

A whole new style took root in those barracks; the traditional instruments such as the teherdent lute and shepherd flute were discarded in favour of the electric guitar, electric bass and drums. Music loosely based on traditional Touareg music and the harsh melodies of the one-stringed Touareg violin, but also incorporating influences such as Bob Marley, the rebels of the Moroccan new wave like Nass El Ghiwane, Bob Dylan together with the other disparate influences, both western and middle eastern, which managed to penetrate that far into the desert. The new style was and still is known as 'Tishoumaren' or simply 'guitar', because the instrument is so central to both the music and image.

Tinariwen were at the spearhead of this musical revolution, whilst also being involved in the armed struggle.

'Tishoumaren' plays a determining part in the cultural and identity claims of the Touareg youth and Tinariwen are large part of that, they are the pride of the desert. Every man, woman, boy and girl from Timbuktu to Tamanrasset and beyond can sing at least some of the songs word for word. The songs are lively, echoing imaginary shapes, deeply truthful of the collective passion that structures the resistance.

Exile and opposition are the main themes tackled by Tinariwen. The band is composed of about 10 people all of whom are some of the best and most famous composers and performers of the contemporary Touareg.

They performed as part of the 'African Soul Rebels' gig at The Sage Gateshead on Monday 21st February 2005.


Rachid Taha

Rachid Taha, Algerian worldbeat artist, was born in the Gulf of Oran during the peak of the Independence War era; as a child, he relocated with his family to France, later finding employment as a dishwasher, cook and factory worker before landing a DJing gig at a small area club. Forming the group Carte de Sejour, Taha attempted to create a style of Arabic rock music heavily influenced by the Algerian rai sound. In 1990 he went solo, moving into dance music. Teaming with producer Steve Hillage, he debuted in 1995 with a self-titled effort, followed a year later by Ole Ole [Barclay]. Taha returned in 1998 with Diwan. His 2000 release, Made in Medina, was recorded in Paris, London, Marrakech and New Orleans, reflecting the wide range of cultural influences that helped shape the recording. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide

Rachid Taha is currently storming the nation with Rock El Casbah, an Arabic version of The Clash's unforgettable anthem!

He performed as part of the 'African Soul Rebels' gig at The Sage Gateshead on Monday 21st February 2005.


Daara J

What hits you immediately when you listen to Daara J, is their great musical quality; “In our music, the melody is always the starting point”. When Daara J first began performing, because of their lack of funds, it meant rapping over instrumental French or American hip hop, or with the backing of a live beatbox, or even some percussion instruments, while one member would sing the melodic sections.

African traditions are blended with American influences, mellowness, warmth and a critical eye. The maturity of their approach was also appreciated by guests such as Rokia Traore, Disiz La Peste and Sergent Garcia.
They were nominated for Best African Artist at the Awards for World Music 2004.

When seen live, the trio of Faada Freddy, Ndongo D and Alhadji Man, sport a mixture of African robes, Western fatigues and jeans, and perform in Wolof, English and French, with backing provided by a French DJ. They are slick, energetic, and agreeably varied, adding African chanting to their rapid-fire rap, or mixing soul balladry and even Latin influences, as in the thoughtful and gently optimistic 'Esperanza'.

Daara J's CD Boomerang catapulted them to fame, with MOBO nominations and acclaim as one of the hip-hop albums of the century.

They performed as part of the 'African Soul Rebels' gig at The Sage Gateshead on Monday 21st February 2005.




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