Tinariwen, the Toureg desert blues-rockers and festival mainstays, have been putting their own windblown spin on Western classic rock since they formed in 1979, and they’ve been doing it for international audiences since the late ’90s. Cass McCombs hasn’t been making music for anywhere near that long, but he’s also got his own peculiar, personal version of classic rock. And today, we get to hear what happens when the two of them collide.
Later this summer, Tinariwen will follow up their 2017 album Elwan with a new one called Amadjar. For this one, they recorded the LP in a camper van that they turned into a mobile studio, setting sessions up in southern Morocco. They’ve long spent time recording with Western musicians, and Amadjar features some great ones: Bad Seeds violinist Warren Ellis, Sunn O))) mastermind Stephen O’Malley, and, on a couple of songs, Cass McCombs.
Today, Tinariwen share their Célidja Pornon-directed video for “Kel Tinawen,” one of the Cass McCombs collabs from the album. McCombs isn’t on the song much, but his muttered refrains add a different dimension to the band’s sound, which already had a whole lot of dimensions. According to a press release, “Kel Tinawen” concerns “the Tuareg rebellion and its detractors.” In the video, we see the members of Tinariwen traveling, performing, and recording throughout a desert. (McCombs isn’t in the video.) Below, check out the “Kel Tinawen” video and check out the single “Taqkal Tarha,” which features Micah Nelson, a member of the Promise Of The Real and a son of Willie Nelson.
Amadjar is out 9/6 on ANTI-/PIAS.