Tinariwen, 'Imidiwan: Companions' (World Village)

Critical Mass
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by SPIN Staff

While Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi pitched a tent outside the United Nations, these former conscripts in his army played at this year's Coachella festival. Tinariwen have enjoyed a curious success, finding fans in Bono and Chris Martin, while remaining politically outspoken Tuareg nomads in their Saharan homeland. Save for some sweet embellishments by guest female singers, the collective leave their wiry, spare grooves intact (see "Lulla" and "Chabiba"). On the mesmeric stomp of "Kel Tamashek," the spindly guitar lines eerily conjure a stormy desert expanse.

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