10th September | Thekla

They come from Tamanrasset, Algeria, and were hailed as spearheading a new generation of Tuareg music upon releasing their self-titled debut album in 2016. Imarhan have now delivered another significant milestone in their efforts to diversify the global perception of their musical tradition with the release of their sophomore effort, Temet, in February. The album beefs up the polyrhythms and pentatonic scales of the desert blues sound pioneered by the legendary Tinariwen – a band with whom Imarhan share family connections – creating a funkier, dancefloor-ready sound, familiar to those who have experienced them live. Among the standout tracks from Temet, ‘Azzaman’ and ‘Ehad wa Dagh’ are both gateways to this evolved sound, demonstrating their development and enticing new audiences toward them.

Foregrounding of the Tamashek language in Imarhan’s music entrenches the notions of cultural preservation, important to a nomadic people whose existence has been sidelined and fragmented amongst the political borders of the Sahel, whilst also offering a unique window into their vision. As a band whose name means ‘ones I care about’, the Tuareg community and the intimate relations contained within it are a significant focal point, but not to the extent of excluding a modern global perspective. Temet translates as ‘connections’ and functions as a mission statement for a band who have expressed their vision of the world as a house – reconciling local notions of community with global ones, as well as linking tradition with the experience of their own generation.

See the video for ‘Azzaman’ here: