On Saturday December 13th 2014, in Paris, a city that the band adores, Grammy Award-winning Tuareg group Tinariwen brought the world’s most respected tindé musician Lalla Badi together with an audience for something more, so much more, than a simple straightforward concert. The album which documents that special night, Live From Paris, arrives today.
In light of current events, the band offers the following:
“Today is released our first live album, Oukis N’Asuf, recorded at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord on December 13th, 2014 in Paris. It’s in Paris, at the Bataclan where we played on April 7th, 2007. Our friend Robert Plant joined us on stage, it’s one of our best memories as musicians. We’re all touched by this tragedy because it affects our friends, music, freedom, values that TINARIWEN has defended for almost 30 years…”
Her face chiseled with wrinkles, her eye bright and vivid, at the age of 75, Lalla Badi remains the queen of tindé – a word that denotes both an instrument (a mortar covered by a taut goatskin) played exclusively by women, and a poetic repertoire which is sung at ceremonies and special occasions. She’s also the incarnation of Touareg femininity par excellence, the pillar of that society: free, strong, far removed from the subservience that so often exists elsewhere. Respected.
Originally from Timiaoune in the far south of the Algerian Sahara, now living in Tamanrasset, Lalla Badi became a mentor to the Touareg in the 1970s, thanks both to her mastery of this musical genre and her commitment to the Touareg cause. Back then she took in the ishumars (unemployed vagrants), those Touareg who had set off to Libya in search of a better life. Like them, the future members of Tinariwen also fled repression and the crippling droughts of northern Mali in those dark years, stopping off in Algeria along the way. Lalla Badi took them under her wing, became like a mother to them.
It was during this period that Ibrahim ag Alhabib, Hassan ag Touhami and Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni picked up the guitar and forged a style from the pulsating rhythm of the tindé and the gait of the camel. Modernity married tradition. The contemporary sound of the desert was on its way.
On that night in Paris, by coming to the front of stage and keeling down at the feet of this great woman, guitars slung over their shoulders, Tinariwen lavished gratitude on Lalla Badi, and sealed their respect forever. As if blessed by this diva, who hadn’t performed in France for over thirty years, this unique encounter could then get underway, with its festive rather than melancholic repertoire ensuing.
With this concert, that came at the very end of a tour comprising more than 130 dates, undertaken in part to promote their last album Emmaar, Tinariwen pay an extraordinary homage to the grandeur and vitality of Tamashek culture. The recording of that night will no doubt remain in the annals of music, just as it will remain etched in the heart’s and mind’s of its audience.
Watch a video of Tinariwen performing their song "Tinde Final Tinariwen" live with Lalla Badi here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LskxVbxr7wc
“The themes persist: war, exile, the desert and the mirage of love. With Tinariwen's members effectively refugees thanks to regional conflicts back home in North Africa, their blues are as deep as ever.” - Rolling Stone