• John Van de Mergel

Sounds | Imarhan, Achinkad


Tiens, klinkt als een folk/rootssong. Duh: "Folk is een muziekstijl gebaseerd op de oorspronkelijk van generatie op generatie overgedragen volkseigen of regionale muziek, bestaande uit verhalende liederen voor elke gemoedstoestand en gelegenheid." Imarhan geeft ons een inkijk(luister) in de tradities van de Touareg en doet dat op een hedendaagse manier. Enkel de zang blijft voor mijn oren nog een uitdaging, maar misschien moet ik er gewoon nog meer naar luisteren én één van hun optredens bijwonen. Eerst even het album een kans geven.

Aboogi verschijnt op 28 januari via City Slang.


Luister ook naar: Tamiditin

LIVE vrijdag 18 maart 2022, De Centrale (Gent) zondag 20 maart, AB Club (Brussel)

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Tuareg quintet Imarhan announce their third studio album, Aboogi, The diversity, beauty, and struggles of life in Imarhan’s home city of Tamanrasset in Southern Algeria are reflected in the songs on Aboogi, the first album the band recorded on their native soil in a studio they built themselves. It features Sudanese singer Sulafa Elyas and Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys, plus Tinariwen’s Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni and the poet Mohamed Ag Itlale (also known as Japonais) from the Tamanrasset artistic community. Following the exhilarating Temet (2018, City Slang), this new album is as serene and open as the desert it emerged from.

Imarhan’s Aboogi Studio, named for the structures their nomadic forebears built when establishing settlements, is the first professional recording studio in their city, meant to serve the Saharan region’s community of musicians, many who’ve never had access to high-end recording gear before. It seemed only natural to also call the resulting collection of songs Aboogi, a nod to the new collective space they had established, as well as the resilience of their culture and people. “Aboogi reflects the colors of Tamanrasset, what we experience in everyday life,” says bandleader Iyad Moussa Ben Abderahmane, aka Sadam. “We give space to the wind and the natural energies, to the sun and the sand. We want to express their colors through music.” There is incredible warmth embedded in these steady, lilting rhythms and patiently strummed acoustic guitars, derived not just from the natural environment but from the community that surrounds them.

Imarhan’s musical world has always been expansive, based in the traditional sounds of the Tuareg people but fiercely individualistic and embracing of the many styles they encounter. On Aboogi they emerge as a truly global group, united with their collaborators in a spirit of resistance and social change. This connection is sensed in today’s “Achinkad” video, which shows the band playing music around a fire and dancers shuffling throughout a desert.

Of the song, Sadam says, "It’s a tribute to our people and to our land. The Tuaregs have been present since ancient times and they are still here, present to their land, faithful to their people, grateful to their ancestors, to their culture, and fully, heavily attached to their nature. They travel through the times and they are always here with this land part of their identity.”

The songs on Aboogi are of-today, bridging the past, often referencing ancestral texts, and the future. They address many current issues affecting Imarhan’s community, from oppressive laws to great economic disparities. “You must be in solidarity with your people at all costs, until the end,” says Sadam. The featherweight, festive music on Aboogi belies its fierce sense of conviction and justice. These complexities are what make Imarhan’s music so prescient - beauty and tranquility intermingle with strife and heartache, creating a dynamic view of life for those subjugated by over a century of colonialism and lopsided revolutions but blessed with true community, art, and culture.

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