Kedou Ag Ossad, Ishumar songs.

The Kel Tamacheq group Tinariwen are likely the most internationally succesful African group of our new millenium.  They have won a grammy, appeared on the Colbert Report, performed throughout the world (Japan, India, China, Singapore, Australia, numerous tours of the USA, Europe and South America), and built a solid fan base that includes marquee celebrities like Robert Plant, Carlos Santana, and Bono.  I first saw them perform in November 2004, at Lisner Auditorium, in Washington D.C., on their first tour of the United States.

The band gave a committed performance and I understood why they were generating so much interest; the romantic narrative of Saharan rebels swapping automatic rifles for guitars and protest songs (so authentic, so rock n' roll), the riffing that recalls a primeval American sound (from Magic Sam's boogie, through Creedence Clearwater Revival's chooglin, R. L. Burnside's Hill Country Blues, to the Endless Boogie), and the turbans and bazin (such a great look).  The show was enjoyable, but unsurprising.  The music didn't touch me.

After the show, two friends, who are related to one of the singers, invited me to their townhouse in the Maryland suburbs, to share the meal they had perpared for the group.  After a delicious dinner of unexpected Malian comfort food, Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni took out an acoustic guitar.  In exchange for a meal that reminded them of home, the group gave an intimate, improvised, performance that brought their wistful hosts' back to their earlier years in northern Mali.

This music moved me.

I recorded the entire performance on a minidisc player.  The minidisc, unfortunately, is buried somewhere in a storage locker.  I can, however, share a recording of a similar musical evening.  Kedou Ag Ossad was one of the founding members of Tinariwen.  A former combattant (in Lebanon and Tchad, with Libyan forces), a poet, and guitar player, Kedou participated in Tinariwen's first recordings in Abidjan (1992), Bamako (1993) and Kidal (2001, the Radio Tisdas sessions that launched the group's international career).  Kedou left the group just as they embarked on their first international tour.  In 2007, he founded the group Terakaft.

I don't know where, or when, this cassette was recorded.  This is another live to boombox recording.  I think I found it in Nouakchott, but I am no longer certain.  It features an hour of unpretentious melodies, performed for what I imagine was a small group of listeners.

Download Kedou ag Ossad

Enjoy.  Make sure you check out the Magic Sam video!      


  1. Oh...can't believe I'm one-up-on-you....I saw them first in Essakane, Mali during the festival in 2003 :)

    And having moved back to India, had to wait long to see them again and it happened last year during their first trip down here. And shared the same floor at the hotel they stayed and had a few words....showed them the pictures taken in the desert back in 2003

    Thanks for this music share :)


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