When Tuareg music and rock’n’roll collide

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LOVERS of live music in Tamanrasset, a mountainous city in Southern Algeria, need look no further than a wedding for their fix. They are where most local bands make their name, according to Iyad Moussa Ben Abderahmane, the lead singer of Imarhan, a six-member group that grew up there. The celebratory audience might not be the harshest of critics—the only reliable measurement of success is whether you are invited to play again at another wedding. But for young upstarts, it’s the best way to test their mettle in front of a live crowd. 

Those after a career beyond the local wedding circuit usually have to rely on the investigative skills of savvy scouts from overseas who come to Algeria seeking hidden talent, Mr Abderahmane says. But most of the country’s borders have been closed since 2006; it is harder for people to visit and experience their music now. Imarhan were lucky. Since they first formed in 2008 the group of friends have gone from doing the rounds of the nuptials scene to touring the globe playing to audiences in Europe to Asia…Continue reading

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