Songs for Desert Refugees

By Gray, Louise | New Internationalist, November 2012 | Go to article overview

Songs for Desert Refugees


Gray, Louise, New Internationalist


Songs for Desert Refugees

by Various Artists (Glitterhouse GR739 CD and download)

Benefit albums fall into two camps: the mealymouthed, in which artists recycle tracks that you can find just anywhere (mentioning no names); and the truly responsive one, in which people pull out the stops to make something new happen (War Child's Help, the 1995 album for children caught up in the Bosnian conflict still stands out.) Songs for Desert Refugees aspires to the second category. Raising money for two NGOs - Ettar and Tamoudré - working with refugees from conflict in northern Mali, it features the pick of the Tamashek crop, including Tinariwen, Toumast, Tamikrest and Etran Finatawa among the bands, with the majority of the 12 tracks being previously unreleased.

Anyone who's familiar with the gentle guitar music coming from this region can't fail to be impressed by its rhythmic and melodic space. …

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