Tinariwen Deal With Racist Threats Approaching U.S. Tour

The guitarists from West Africa are being attacked on social media ahead of a North Carolina show. 

The world’s foremost Tuareg guitar band hail from the Sahara Desert (the band’s name means “deserts” in their native language of Tamasheq)—if you haven’t heard of them, you may know some of their recent collaborators, including Cass McCombs and the Bad Seeds’ Warren Ellis.

Tinariwen have railed against fundamentalism in their West African home country of Mali, departing the scene for international tours and recording sessions. Unfortunately, the band are now facing adversity here in the USA, where they are touring this fall in support of their new album, Amadjar (out September 6 via ANTI-).

As reported by NPR, ahead of a September show at The Ramkat in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the band received violent threats on social media. The venue posted a Facebook ad, and the racist comments came rolling in. 

The Ramkat’s owner Andy Neville praised their music and disparaged the harassers, telling NPR: “If any of these commenters had done any sort of homework on the band, the Tuareg people or their history, they’d find that the band and the Tuareg people have been marginalized their entire lives—and that Tinariwen themselves have stood up to some of these kind of hateful and and racist forces in North Africa. It’s incredibly disappointing, and then probably the most disappointing thing of all is the fact that we’re talking about these misguided commenters, and what we’re not talking about is what an incredible band Tinariwen is.”

Despite the xenophobic attacks, the show will go on—albeit with increased security measures. 


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