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Tinariwen 

Imidiwan: Companions (Outside)

These guys speak fluently the language of riff, a basic and universal unit of the guitar. Though riffs are, by their nature, repeated phrases, this album is anything but repetitive. Each of these 13 songs has its own distinct identity thanks in large part to what most call rhythm guitar. It's the secondary players---whether guitarists on electric or acoustic instruments or the jubilant group on backing vocals and harmonies or the often winding melodies of the bass---that make this album a must for everyone to hear, even as it's a call to a single nation, the Touareg of Mali, to awake to themselves and their place in the world.

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Vol 24, No 43
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