African Music Group Tinariwen Invites Amman Imman on Tour

special contribution to the blog by Laurel Lundstrom

Tinariwen, a band as famous for its music, as it is for the nomadic, guitar-toting desert tribesmen who make that music, will strengthen its call for development in the Western Sahara by joining forces with grassroots project Amman Imman, or “water is life” during its upcoming tour throughout Canada and the Northeast.

While Tinariwen sings songs of exile, struggle, division and a warrior past, representatives from Amman Imman will the tell the story of the more than 500,000 people living in the Niger’s Azawak region of the Western Sahara who are dying of thirst. Amman Imman seeks to save the lives of those struggling by bringing them the water wells they so desperately need. The project has built one borehole well to serve the needs of 25,000 people, but many more are needed.

"This partnership merges songs that give hope to the Tuareg people with a purpose that solidifies that hope,” said Ariane Kirtley, Director and Founder of Amman Imman. “In order for people to have the hope to enjoy life, they first need to have the most basic need of access to water met.”

The likely partners came together because of a common name and a common cause - Tinariwen entitled its most recent album “Aman Iman,” – or “water is the soul.”“We chose the title because it expressed something that was universal, and incontrovertible,” said Andy Morgan, Tinariwen’s manager. “It's a message that the world ought to understand, but often doesn't. In the desert, without water, life is impossible.”

In line with the grassroots project, the band has a humanitarian arm called Taghreft Tinariwen, which, among other things, exists to further cultural, educational and water development, in the region. The association holds an annual music festival, has built a cultural center, conducts trainings in music production and IT, and builds schools for nomad children.

The members of Tinariwen see themselves as cultural ambassadors, and, like Amman Imman, want to focus the world’s attention on the cultural and developmental needs of Tuareg nomads like themselves. Largely abandoned by both national and international governments, as well as international development agencies, both nomadic and sedentary populations living in the Azawak have little access to schools, roads, health centers, and, most importantly, virtually no access to water.

Tinariwen can empathize. The group formed while fighting abandonment and oppression in the 1970s. Lured into rebel training camps in Libya by Colonel Gadaffi in the early 1980s, the group became the official mouthpiece of the Tuareg rebellion, and their songs carried the message of awareness and resistance as far as the deserts of Niger and Mali in the 1990s.

Following the rebellion, Tinariwen emerged as a desert legend. With three successful albums released, tours of Europe, the United States and the Far East and appearances at a BBC Award for World Music, Tinariwen emerged as one of the most exciting and successful bands from Africa in recent times.

Tinariwen and Amman Imman will be in Montreal, Canada on Friday, Nov. 23, at Club Soda. Followed by concerts Saturday, Nov. 24 in Quebec City, Canada, at Palais Montcalm; Sunday, Nov. 25 in Boston, Mass., at the Museum of Fine Arts; and Monday, Nov. 26 at Higher Ground, in Burlington, VT.

For more information about Tinariwen please visit:, or Amman Imman, visit:

Check out Tinariwen's tour schedule tour at:

Watch a video on them at:

Band info (from

Tinariwen/Amman Imman Tour Details:
11/23/07 Montreal, QC
Club Soda, 1225 St Laurent Tix: $27.50 Show at 7:30 PM
for tickets: 514-286-1010

11/24/07 Quebec City, QC
Palais Montcalm, 995, Place d'Youville Tix: $35 Show at 8 PM
for tickets: 1-877-641-6040

11/25/07 Boston, MA
Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave Tix: $24 and $30, Show 7:30 PM
For tickets: 617-369-3306

11/26/07 Burlington, VT
Higher Ground, 1214 Williston Road South Tix: $13 Advance, $15 day of show, Doors open 7PM, Show 7:30 PM,
For tickets: 888-512-SHOW

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