Monday, May 25, 2009

Tinariwen at Hamer Hall

Last month Hamer Hall came alive with the sounds of Africa. An abundant programme of music fed those of us who enjoy music from around the globe but, more particularly, the musicians of Africa.

While milling near the bar and in the foyer downstairs, people were treated to a lively performance from Ajak Kwai and her band playing Afro-Dinka style blues. This created a terrific, colourful atmosphere and people couldn’t help but sway and move to the fantastic rhythms of this band. They received enthusiastic applause from the growing crowd and it was generous entertainment before the evening’s central programme began.

The support for Tinariwen was the large ensemble King Marong and Afro Mandinka in clever and creative collaboration with local blues guitarist Jeff Lang. Wonderfully energetic, vibrant music and some smart choreography impressed the audience.

Tinariwen, who are Touareg originating from Saharan Mali, made a visually striking entrance in flowing floor-length robes and headdresses of cloth wound round the head that also covered the lower part of their faces. The dress might be traditional tribal but their music is made with modern electric and acoustic guitars underpinned with a djembe drum. Their music is an arresting, hypnotic blend of influences with a driving rhythm, repeating textures and storylines that are built from political and cultural hardship. Desert blues is often used to describe the style.

This is a very brief reference to what was a wonderful night relishing the distinctive groove of an acclaimed group who have gathered a passionate following across the world. When you cannot hear them in concert or at festivals, there is another place to visit.

If you are tempted to explore World Music, or have already discovered and enjoyed music from other cultures, then the City of Boroondara Library Service has a wide collection of CDs that will satisfy your appetite. You can browse the catalogue; browse the CD shelves and take home favourite artists or new discoveries; or reserve titles that might be out on loan. Listen to Tinariwen or musicians from other parts of Africa.

Enrich your life with the diversity of music from all parts of the globe.

Find it in your local library.

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