Monday, March 17, 2008

Mali Monday #5: Tartit

Image found here.

Tartit on Divanoprod (scroll down the right-hand side to find the link to their page)

Wikipedia entry

Like Tinariwen, whom I posted about here, Tartit (which means "unity") is also comprised of Tuareg people, and the two bands occasionally perform together. Also like Tinariwen, Tartit also formed in a refugee camp. The chief differences, though, are that Tartit is more acoustically-oriented than Tinariwen, and Tartit is female-led (it's hard to see in the video below, but the women in the group are unveiled, but the men are veiled). In Tuareg society, women have relatively more power than is true in most west African cultures: they can choose their own husbands and have the power to divorce them as well.

Tartit's music is, on the whole, less accessible to Western listeners than that of the other musicians I've posted so far, with its emphasis on single, chanted lines. However, some of the songs on their most recent album, Abacabok, also include electric guitars, which gives their songs a fuller and smoother sound.

But a Tartit performance is also about dance as well as music. Here is part of their performance from the FMM Sines 2007, a music festival in Sines, Portugal:

There is also this video, shot during Tartit's performance at the Festival in the Desert, a 2003 gathering of, mostly, Malian and other western Saharan musicians. Not your ordinary rock & roll festival, as you'll see. Here is more about the Festival's goals.

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