The city of Kidal in Northern Mali sits like a dot at the edge of the Sahara. It’s a place of paradox—the semi-permanent home of nomadic Tuaregs, the seat of a nation-state that lasted less than year once Al Qaeda and the French military pinched it from either side. It exists, and yet for many it’s a mere shadow, both a promise and the nullification of that promise.
That’s the case for Tuareg guitar band Tamikrest, who named their forthcoming fourth album after the city. “We consider the desert as an area of freedom to live in,” says the band’s Ousmane Ag Mossa. “But many people consider it as just a market to sell to multinational corporations, and for me, that is a major threat to the survival of our nomadic people.” Kidal, then, also represents one final outpost, the last guard in both a physical and metaphorical sense.
The band’s sense of devotion to their home whips at the edges of “Wainan Adobat,” whose video we’re pleased to be premiering today. While the stuttering guitars will be familiar to fans of Tinariwen, Ag Mossa’s band largely eschews the mysticism that shrouds the music of their fellow Tuaregs in favor of a more straightforward sound—consider it the festival-rock answer to Tinariwen’s desert blues. You can check it out below.
Kidal is out March 17 via Glitter Beat.