Grass Valley’s Center for the Arts to host Grammy Award-winning Tinariwen’s world music |

Grass Valley’s Center for the Arts to host Grammy Award-winning Tinariwen’s world music


WHO: The Center for the Arts presents

WHAT: Tinariwen (dance concert, limited theater seating)

WHEN: 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16

WHERE: The Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main Street, Grass Valley

TICKETS: $37 member, $42 non-member

The Center Box Office - 530-274-8384 ext 14

BriarPatch Co-op Community Market - 530-272-5333

Tickets online at


Grammy Award-winning band from Southern Sahara, Tinariwen will perform in Grass Valley during a concert presented by The Center for the Arts on Sunday, Aug. 16.

In 2012, Tinariwen received a “Best World Music Album” Grammy for its Tassili Desert Sessions at the 54th annual Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. They have toured the world bringing their music meant to inspire peace.

“We wish to speak with all humanity how to build the world for tomorrow,” they said.

The group has appeared at major music festivals, including the Eucokéennes de Belfort in France, Glastonbury in Scotland, the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and Coachella in Indio, California. Their sound has attracted mainstream artists like Elvis Costello, Robert Plant, and Carlos Santana.

Tinariwen means “empty places,” a reflection of their land of origin.

Taureg nomads have roamed the deserts of Mali and Libya for centuries and waged a war for autonomy for more than two decades. In the early 1980s, the Taureg men of Tinariwen picked up electric guitars, invited women to sing with them and started making music that spoke to their struggle.

On Tassili, the band drops bits of rap, funk, rock, and blues into soulful desert music that features a hypnotic vocal interplay between the male and female voices and guitar work reminiscent of Ali Farka Touré and Jimmy Page.

The band formed in the rebel camps of Colonel Gaddafi, as each of the musicians had been forced from their nomadic lifestyle into involuntary military service.

Surrounded by a displaced nation of their peers, Tinariwen forged a new style of music, trading their traditional lutes and shepherd’s flutes for electric guitars and drums. The style that resulted was dubbed “Tishoumaren,” or “the music of the unemployed.”

Their music addresses issues such as political awakening, problems of exile, repression of their people, and demands of sovereignty. In a region with no postal or telephone system, their tapes soon became a grassroots voice of rebellion and a rallying point for the disenfranchised nation. Though outlawed in Algeria and Mali, the 2001 release, “The Radio Tisdas Sessions” and 2004 release, “Amassakoul” are available to Western audiences.

In 2006, they recorded their third album, “Aman Iman: Water Is Life,” released internationally in 2007 by Harmonia Mundi’s World Village imprint. The album was produced by Justin Adams, and featured the voice and guitar of founding member Mohammed Ag Itlale.

In the 1963 rebellion, Tinariwen group leader Ibrahim Ag Alhabib saw his father shot to death by the Malian military. The family fled to Algeria. In Algeria, Ibrahim saw a Western movie where the star played a guitar, and was fascinated with the instrument. Ibrahim worked to buy his own guitar and began to make his own music.

In 2010, after touring festivals around the world, Tinariwen signed to America’s Anti imprint and issued, “Tassili” in 2011 – the recording of a completely acoustic set in a protected region of the Southeastern Algerian Desert. Wilco guitarist Nels Cline and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band appeared on the recording.

Ibrahim generates his gritty, grungy, churning sound by hammering open strings on his Fender axe in a laid-back desert boogie reminiscent of Ali Farka Touré.

In 2001, Tinariwen helped host the first Festival in the Desert, one of the largest world music festivals in the world. The festival hosts a number of blues musicians from the United States and a variety of music from around the globe.

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