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The Tuareg Music

The Music of Tuareg is an ancestral music; a mixture of the music of black Africa and the Berber music of the south like the Tindi or the Ahellil. It is a kind of music that is more often sung in chorus which is composed of a group leader (choirmaster), generally a soloist (abecniw), a drummer (gellal) and a bengri player (or flute Temja) and two or more dancers. In 2005, UNESCO proclaimed the Ahellil  as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. The themes of the Tuareg songs are involved around life, adventures of the ishumar(the jobless),love and nostalgia ,etc.

     The Tindi and Iswat are the two typically feminine repertoires of the art of Tuareg singing. These two genres constitute the major musical heritage of the Tinariwen which they adapted to the guitar, transcended and sublimated. Tindi is a festive genre which played during multiple celebrations such as weddings. It is performed during local festivities; a group of women gather around the tambour and begin singing on the rhythm of the beats and their clapping. On the other hand, the Iswat is a genre more confidential, nocturnal contrary to the Tindi, and more melancholy, reserved for young people, whether artists or audience. All the great Tindi singers were formed with the practice of Iswat in their youth. Originally it is a genus a capella but that tends more and more to be accompanied by a percussion or guitar. The Iswat is characterized by a female lead vocal and a male chorus (issigdalen) which holds the bass line. Above all, it is the repertoire in which the nostalgic fiber of Tuareg singing poetry expresses itself with force. Among the renowned Tindi singers, the author and the composer and even the physician, Othmane Baly who interpreted his songs to the rhythms of the Tindi(The musical genre of his region, Djanet). He was lulled by the music of his mother; great Tindi singer. He gave the Tuareg music a universal dimension.

      Since the 1990s, Tuareg music has been enriched with a new current: the Tuareg blues with the Tinariwen group or Toumast which is a mixture of the rock and the traditional Tuareg music. Tinariwen from Tamasheq which means the deserts is a group of music originally from Tamanrasset in Algeria and from Tessalit in Mali. The two leaders of the group are Ibrahim ag Alhabib "Abraybone" and Alhousseini ag Abdoulahi "Abdallah", but we must consider Tinariwen as a large family of Tuareg artists, a cultural movement and a musical current.

   In addition to Imarhan which is a group of Tuareg musicians from the Sahara, in the south of Algeria. Their music is a blend of Assouf blues, pop melodies and pan-African rhythms. Their songs are composed of an intimate and introspective atmosphere with gentle and intense poetic compositions of faith, expressing an authentic attachment to the Tamasheq 'Assouf' music, which make one travel through the grandiose Saharan spaces.

    It is highly important to shed light to" Imzad" which is a musical instrument that has only one string and played and made exclusively by Tuareg women. Hymn to the Imzad, coupled with messages of love and peace, appeals to tradition with a perceptible nod to modernity,used to sing the soul of Southern Algerian music. Hacen Anesleme, Bay Danna, Khouta Kaouala, Moussa Melloul, Fares Hamidou, Ahmed Ben Khridla, Ahmed Nouari, Hassen Khoualef, Mohamed Shihadem and Abderahmen Kaouala are a hit especially among young people. Each year,they held festivities  to show people history and Imzad music. If one sings the poem of the Imzad using a guitar, it is to show it to the new generation, not to let this heritage die. This musical style begins to compete with the Gnawa (another type of saharian music). This cult instrument, which is the Imzad, which only women have the right to make vibrate, becomes well-known in the whole world and recognized as a human heritage.
written by ARAB Sabrina


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