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When: Tue., March 12, 6:30 p.m. 2013
Mesmerizing north African guitar band Terakaft named their fourth and best record, Kel Tamasheq (World Village), after the phrase their nomadic Tuareg people use to identify themselves, and though they sound sleeker and more focused, they’re also angrier and more political than ever, addressing the fight for self-determination head-on. The group recorded the album in November 2011 with British guitarist Justin Adams, who was also the first producer for pioneering desert-rock band Tinariwen, cofounded by Terakaft front man Liya Ag Ablil. The sessions were over before the rebellion in northern Mali turned into open warfare in January 2012, but some of the songs on Kel Tamasheq seem to predict the bloodshed that was about to erupt. (It’s complicated, but at first Tuareg forces and Islamist groups allied against the Malian government; then they began fighting one another, after which French and other outside armies attacked the Islamists.) “Imad Halan” excoriates Tuaregs whose collusion with the Islamists has weakened the nomads’ case for a land of their own—one of Ag Ablil’s lyrics translates to “I am stunned at your involvement / Which does not support those who work.” “Bas Tela Takaraket” implores fellow Tuareg to remember why they’re struggling for independence in the first place: “We will not submit / Nor will we make an alliance with the enemy.” Adams has brought a new clarity to the cycling guitar licks and stabs, clopping percussion, and syncopated hand claps, and he joins some folks from Maghreb-influenced French band Lo’Jo to contribute extra guitar and background vocals. But that’s not to say the four members of Terakaft need help—they’re a seasoned unit, driving their arid grooves and nasal incantations with an implacable sense of purpose. —Peter Margasak

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