David Flower
Agent + Director

Sasa Music

Live Music Agency

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The desert is a place of hardship and subtle beauty, a stark world that reveals its secrets slowly and carefully. Life in the desert is resilient and strong, and the people are gentle giants among the sand, storms, and sun. For Saharan blues band Tinariwen, the desert is their home, and their hypnotic and electrifying guitar rock reflects complex realities of their homebase in North West Africa.

Tinariwen are the kings and queens of ‘Assouf’ or guitar poetry from the Sahara Desert. Since the first Festival in the Desert in 2001, which they helped to organise, the band have become one of the most successful and exciting musical exports ever to emerge from west Africa. The founding members spent the 1980s holed-up in Libyan military camps dreaming of dignity and self-determination for their own people, the Kel Tamashek of the southern Sahara, and singing songs for a entire generation of young Touareg. Their rolling yearning grooves and uncompromising messages of simplicity and freedom, distilled over twenty years of struggle, rebellion and exile, have earned them two BBC World Music Award nominations, countless accolades and citations, the attention of high-profile fans such as Robert Plant, Santana, Edge and Thom Yorke, and the enduring respect of their own people. Their latest album ‘Aman Iman’ made the top 10 albums of 2007 in the Observer Music Magazine, Songlines, the Independent, Word Magazine, HMV Choice, fRoots amongst many others.

How do you compress a thirty-year epic into a few pages?  Tinariwen, whose back-story has variously been described as “the most compelling of any band” (Songlines), “the most rock’n’roll of them all” (The Irish Times), “hard-bitten” (Slate.com) and “dramatic” (The Independent), are both a dream and a nightmare for any aspiring music writer:  a dream because the most superficial ‘headlines’ of their tale – rebellion, guns and guitars, desert nomads, Ghadaffi, the real Saharan blues – are like easy nuggets of gold to thrill-seeking journalists and literary prospectors.  And a nightmare, because none of these clichés really do the band justice or even begin to describe who they are, what they feel or the music they play.   The following comprises only the chapter headings, the main way markers of the long road the group have travelled from the wild empty places of the southern Sahara desert to the concert stages of the world.

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+ Latest MusicListenTinariwen Soundcloud
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+ In The Press

  • “listening to Tinariwen is like dropping a bucket into a deep well.”
    Robert Plant
  • “I really appreciated them. They come from a hard place. It’s very different when people are singing for their life, rather than just to eat. It’s really the edge who introduced me to this music. It’s true that this kind of music is like a breath, that I can feel. It’s the discovery of new sounds, new harmonies. We’re trying to get inspired, but just a little bit. We don’t want to end up being tourists.”
    Bono (U2)
  • “The clock was totally taken from this weird ‘Arabian festival in the desert’ that Robert Plant did. There are a couple of tracks where these guitar players from Mali play these amazing riffs. So i copied their style and improvised for 10 minutes and then just randomly recorded bits until i captured something of what they were doing.”
    Thom Yorke (Radiohead) : Mojo Magazine, UK
  • “To share this stage with Tinariwen is a real joy because when I hear them I hear the beginning of the music of the Mississippi and of Muddy Waters, Jeff Beck, BB King, Little Walter, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy... This is where it all comes from, they are the originators.”
    Carlos Santana : (on stage at the Montreux Jazz Festival 2006)
  • “They were proper rebels, and what a wonderful way to advertise a problem to the world : through music. You don’t have to understand the words to hear something deeper in it. It’s the mood that says it all.”
    Damon Albarn, Q Magazine UK
  • "We were simultaneously stunned that we'd never heard of them before and amazed at how bad they made everyone else look!”
    Kyp Malone & Tunde Adebimpe (Tv On The Radio) : BBC
  • “...SO Much amazing music inspired us on this record. We listened to Rammstein and Tinariwen, one after the other, and the middle part of ‘42’ came naturally from that. There were no limits.”
    Chris Martin (Coldplay) (talking about the album ‘Viva La Vida’ to Rock’n’ Folk France)

+ Music


  • + Releases

    Released: 2019-09-06

    AMADJAR Image
    + Releases

    Released: 2017-02-10

    ELWAN Image
    + Releases

    Released: 2014

    Emmaar Image
    + Releases

    Released: 2011

    Tassili Image
  • + Releases

    Released: 2009

    Imidiwan Image
    + Releases

    Aman Iman
    Independiente/World Village USA
    Released: 2007

    Aman Iman Image