REVIEW gig Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Tinariwen play their grounding and soulful music to a sold out crowd

The Saharan desert blues band gather a family of fans...

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@ London's Village Underground. 07/03/14

Weaving my way through the smiling faces of the chilled out crowd at Shoreditch’s Village Underground, I neared the stage, of which was laden with various different beautiful guitars and African drums. One could feel the warm vibrant energy already, pulsing through the high ceilings of this venue; seemingly a wonderful space for such soulful groovy desert Blues. For anyone not familiar with Tinariwen, their bands history stretches as far back as the 70’s where the very first band members decided to take their inspirations from current Western music at the time and bring together like-minded Tuareg rebels to form the first seeds of the band we know today. Coming from the harsh political realities present in the bands homeland, it was always a struggle to do what they loved. Luckily for these Saharan desert wanderers though, they would be able to expand and develop their music as well as adding on new members making it more of a collective. They would insist on writing music reflecting the lives of the Tuareg people, conjuring up the most groovy, soulful and mesmorising songs. Their success and existence has really brought up the bar for others musicians around today. Tinariwen play music from a real place, and play it damn well. Each song in the bands set was a smooth and entrancing blend of simple but consistent drum beats, funky bass and skilled guitar playing. The vocals had deep amounts of power, harmony and even without understanding the words you could feel the poignancy of the meanings behind what was being sung. Clad in the most beautiful robes, each and every member of the band had the kindest and deepest eyes - this I personally feel related hugely to what I was hearing. They seemed humbled and totally delighted and touched by not only the sold out crowd, but the family feeling that flowed about the venue. Having been to a fair few gigs at this same venue, it was noticeable how this group of fans were, for lack of a better phrase, “at one” with each other.  The music brought a love-filled orb of unity within this place, and it felt ceremonial and extremely grounding.     Playing a multitude of new songs off their  sixth and most recent album ‘
Emmaar’, the skills were on full show for all to admire. The band members rotated about the stage, swapping guitars and taking it in turns to do the lead vocals. In between blending harmonies and clapping on the off beats, two of the main vocalists would dance around, moving their hands about the air. There wasn’t a soul in the crowd who didn’t seem to be totally still, every head in sight was bobbing. Tinariwen are something quite special, like a rare gemstone to be treasured. Their music and performing abilities are the Crème De La Crème and they create beautiful memorable and poignant energy at their gigs. They will forever be on my list of bands to make a b-line for. [gallery ids="58536,58537,58538,58539,58540,58541,58542,58543,58544,58545,58546,58547,58548,58549,58550"]

Photos by Jo Wells