The African commercial music revival of the past two decades has mostly focused on reissued or never-before-heard records from 1970s Nigeria, Ghana and Benin. A step below that, in terms of a worldwide heads-up, are the further-inland or opposite-coast sounds of Egypt's Group Doueh and Niger's Etran Finatawa that have been documented by go-anywhere labels like Sublime Frequencies. Tinariwen, the old-new standbys of the non-West African sound, is a group of Tuareg (desert nomadic) musicians who formed in Libyan refugee camps and now live in the Sahara Desert region of Mali. Despite more than three decades of experience, the group didn't get mainstream props until the release of its first CD, 2001's The Radio Tisdas Sessions, multiple presentations at the Timbuktu-area Festival au Désert and a couple of worldwide tours. Tinariwen's latest jaunt to North America will showcase the group playing tunes sculpted in desert-pitched tents and eventually released on August's Tassili, a collection of itinerant blues that swings.


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