Tinariwen Tiny Desk concert

This was one of the best videos to observe the style, since the cameraman had the camera centered on their frets for a lot of the time. Note that Abdallah is playing the melody and Eyadou is playing the rhythm guitar on a single chord, which as you imagine makes it fairly simple, but of course makes it all sound much better when played together, especially when you add that rocking pumpkin.

I’ll take a closer look at this and the tuning, it’s been awhile.


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Posted by on February 4, 2017 in Uncategorized


Video: Imidiwan Ma Tennam lesson (with tabs)

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Posted by on February 4, 2017 in Uncategorized


A few videos

This is a good video, he goes over minor pentatonic, which is the basis for the TInariwen style:

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Posted by on February 4, 2017 in Uncategorized


Relevant Research Information

A few resources for those who want some background on the style:
Tichumaren entry on Wikipedia:

Tishoumaren, or Tichumaren, is a style of music in northern Africa. The musical style took shape as an expression of the difficult social-political situation of the Tamasheq (or, as they are commonly referred to by people other than themselves, the Tuareg), over the last three to four decades. The word Tishoumaren is derived from the French word chômeur, meaning “the unemployed”.) The emergence of this style of music, which has also come to be called, more simply, “guitar music,”[1] cannot be separated, in particular, from the story of the band known as Tinariwen, or, more generally, from the emergence of the Tamasheq as a people and a culture from the violent turmoil that has been a running theme in the post-colonial history of the region which they call home, in Northern Africa. Today, the style remains politically critical, although it has become less associated with the violent rebelliousness out of which it took form.

If you are interested in something more academic, here are more resources:

Susan Rasmussen seems to be the authority on the “rebel” music of contemporary Tuareg life. Two papers that can be accessed at your local library (email me for other details):

  • Moving beyond Protest in Tuareg Ichumar Musical Performance
    Susan Rasmussen, University of Houston
  • Between Several Worlds: Images of Youth and Age in Tuareg Popular Performances
    Author(s): Susan J. Rasmussen
    Reviewed work(s):Source: Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 3, Youth and the Social Imagination in Africa,Part 1 (Jul., 2000), pp. 133-144
    Published by: The George Washington University Institute for Ethnographic Research
    Stable URL: .

The following is an MA thesis that is very informative, and highly recommended.

If you are interested in Tuareg culture in a general sense, Jeremy Keenan is the best academic and reporter out there. He is currently covering the Tuareg rebellion’s resurgence in the Sahel, which threatens to destabilize many of the sub-Saharan African countries. Here’s a few of his pertinent works:

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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Uncategorized


A space to learn the “Desert Blues”, or Tuareg Guitar

As a guitar player with a taste for world music, I’ve been interested in Tuareg guitar styles for a little while now. As far as I know, this is the only blog out there for those interested in this very specific genre. I genuinely hope it can be a meeting place for those who don’t know anything about playing in the tichumaren style (like myself) and those who can teach the rest of us how it works. I will be learning as I go and posting what I know. If anyone wants to make a contribution, please contact me.

For those who haven’t heard the style before, I encourage you to take a listen to the following groups:
Etran Finatawa

There are other groups out there, but these are currently the most popular.

Thanks for dropping by!


Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Uncategorized