Tinariwen is a band comprised of Kel Tamashek people (they prefer this name to Tuareg), nomads from the remote Saharan region of Mali, beyond Timbuktu.

Tinariwen is a band comprised of Kel Tamashek people (they prefer this name to Tuareg), nomads from the remote Saharan region of Mali, beyond Timbuktu. Though they have long been known as a fiercely independent people familiar with warfare, struggle, and institutionalized discrimination, Tinariwen's music is anything but fierce. Its lyrics are frequently social/ political, while its arrangements are as sparse and entrancing as the southern Sahara. Guitars and percussion pretty much sums up the sound. The lead vocalists are men, frequently augmented by a female chorus of three. The songs—all originals—have a surprisingly gentle, drowsy vibe. The voices have a timeless quality that's difficult to liken to any other type of African singing. Tinariwen's sound is more akin to the Maghreb than it is to traditional Bambara or Manding music. Like the desert the Kel Tamashek inhabit, this music has a quiet, stirring mystery. Distributed by Harmonia Mundi.—PVV