A special today, the original song by Tinariwen, and then again by a dedicated group of young men (explained below the second video, along with English translation.)
“A thousand miles from their homeland in northern Mali, across a vast expanse of desert, the music of Tinariwen has found shelter in the hearts of six young musicians from M’hamid el Ghizlane. They were only boys when the desert rockers first visited their home, back in 2006, but they saw an immediate reflection of their own dreams and aspirations in the music they heard. In the years that followed they learned the Tinariwen songbook note for note, word for word, even though they couldn’t speak a word of Tamashek, the language of the Touareg.
When Tinariwen returned to M’hamid in 2016 to record a new album, those young disciples from M’hamid had achieved a remarkable mastery of the desert guitar repertoire. The torch had been passed from hand to hand and heart to heart across the great desert. The young musicians from M’hamid were invited to perform Abdallah’s ‘Sastaqanam’, standing in for their older brothers and playing with uncanny fidelity. But first the members of Tinariwen wrapped new turbans around the heads of their young acolytes, marking not only the passage from boyhood to manhood according to ancient desert custom, but also the transmission of their music across the generations, a transmission that is taking place in the hearts of youth from every corner of the great Sahara.”
SASTANÀQQÀM (I QUESTION YOU)
Ténéré, can you tell me of anything better
Than to have your friends and your mount,
And a brand new goatskin, watertight,
To find your way by the light
Of the four bright stars of heaven,
To know how to find water in
The unlikeliest of places,
And enlist the momentum of the wind
To help you move forward.
Tell me, Ténéré, how you and I
Can remain united, with no hate for each other.
Ténéré, I can now admit that
I have travelled far through this wide world.
Ténéré, I give you my oath
That as long as I’m alive,
I will always come back to you.