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Ousame Ag Mossa– singer/songwriter/guitarist of Tamikrest



 (GRCD 703)


CD and download out on 1 March 2010


Released on Glitterhouse Records (UK distribution: Shellshock)


“A desert hosts us, a language unites us, a culture binds us”. Tamikrest






A review by Mary Couzens for EXTRA! EXTRA!


“They’re definitely the future of Tamashek Music” Andy Morgan, seminal group Tinawiren’s manager of many years aptly proclaimed, and once you’ve heard Tamikrest on Adagh, you’re sure to agree! “Spiritual sons” of the seminal group who paved the way before them, Tamikrest expands further still on their forbearers blending of the traditions of Tamashek music and Rock in ways that are as subtle and sultry as a warm morning sun and more compelling than a moonlit desert breeze. 

For those of you who don’t know what Tamashek music is, and are unfamiliar with the wonders of Tinawiren, there is no time like now to top up your musical educations. Tamashek is ‘the language of the Touareg’ a marginalised, nomadic people from the Saharan desert, which spans many countries, among them Niger, Algeria, Libya and Mali. The group’s songs convey a sense of, their writer and singer Ousame Ag Mossa explains, “the harsh life conditions that our people endure.” Tamikrest’s seven members, who originate from Mali, Niger and Algeria have found a mutual way of expressing their Touareg identities through Ishumar rock, also known as Touareg rebel music.

Ag Mossa was so inspired by a Tinawiren song he heard at the age of five that it sent him off in his own unique musical direction, ever mindful of the invaluable lessons the experience taught him. At twenty-seven, Ousame and his marvellously textured, fully realised group Tamikrest have arrived, so to speak, to enthral our ears and heighten our senses, all for the mere price of one CD. ADAGH is such a ‘morish’ album that having listened to it once, I found myself playing it again and again...

Instantly infectious, ‘Outamachek’ with its flexing guitars, wailing leads and chant like back up singing features unexpected bouts of whooping and buoyant reggae undercurrents, with desert cries standing in for the disco whistles of yore.  

‘Aicha’ draws on a mixed bag of cultural references, at once plaintive and compelling, with clear, but twanging guitars and a winding, clopping beat – distinctively different, but equally addictive.

‘Amidini’ with its elusive, transitory beats offers a wide expanse of grooves to latch into. And given its hooking, earnest vocals and rhythmic back up singing, it’s as good a blues chaser as it is a soother.

Equally surprising and seductive is ‘Tamiditin’ with its’ subtly grooving call and response vocals and clapping beat. You’ll be well into the call and response of its instrumental nuances long before it reaches its all too quickly arrived at, striking conclusion.

‘Aratane N’ Adagh’ with its wonderfully lush guitar work and bluesy, guttural vocals is underpinned by appropriately restrained drumming which punctuates rather than overtakes. The vast arid landscape Tamikrest’s members originate from springs to mind as clearly as a mirage in the desert. This is truly a track showcasing all that is most evocative about the group and their unique ability to bring the atmosphere of their homeland into their heady mix.

By track six, the obviously Tinarriwen influenced ‘Tridite Tille’, I needed no more convincing to be won over, but I still found the song entrancing and a standalone number for a combination of all of the endless reasons cited above.

The more upbeat, decidedly intricate ‘Tahoult’ offers listeners the possibility of slipping into grooves galore, while still surfacing for more, while it cannily delivers a host of undulating delights.

By track eight – ‘Alhoriya’, I already considered Tamikrest as a band to be welcomed to festivals and onto turntables throughout this land and hopefully, many others. And when the track began in earnest, so did this listener in terms of dancing, celebrating life and whatever the group was putting across through their singing and playing. Not only did the track offer outstanding vocal harmonies and the stellar guitar work I had by then become accustomed to, but it is also one of this album’s truly great tracks.

That said, it must be added that just when I thought I couldn’t be any more captivated than I already was, the album’s mesmerising title track, ‘Adagh’ began to play, proving otherwise. Its resonating vocals and evocatively realised playing, made me realise I’d been captivated anew.

Track ten, ‘Adounia Mahegagh’ furthers the unpredictability of this album’s fluctuating grooves without lessening any of its own intent. Which, based on this listener’s estimation is to soothe, enchant and share a generous portion of the group’s rock flavoured, desert blues inspired journey.

It was obvious to me at this juncture that Tamikrest is on mission and one that is all about their music, which is apt, as the band’s name literally means junction/connection/knot/coalition in the Tamashek language.

 ‘Toumastin’ ends Tamikrest’s superb debut on a more pensive note that is at once exotic and urbane with its distinctive, rather distant sounding rock guitar licks fanning out over the surrounding landscape which seem to ask us which side will win...

But no matter. With Tamikrest’s stirring debut Adagh there can be no losers, apart from you, if you don’t purchase this group’s winning CD and support these uniquely placed stars of the desert.



Editors Note:

ADAGH is destined to become an instantaneous favourite of listeners as well as canny record distributors, radio denizens and booking agents. To top off the intoxicating experience of listening to Tamikrest on CD, you’ll also have the added bonus of being able to seeing them perform LIVE, together with Dirtmusic at the Borderline in London on May 19th.  Stay tuned to for ticket info.




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