Rolling sands and dry sun beam throughout the chants and folk call and response of Terakaft‘s new album Aratan N Azawad. Terakaft brings rock ‘n roll and classic blues guitar riffs on a border crossing journey through melodic currents of traditional Touareg poetry and dance with Jimmy Hendrex and Santana style sophistication and cool. Their similar call for peace and lyrics about camels, thirst, everyday life and the struggles for a unified Touareg people, move and groove across the dunes. The album title roughly translates to “Children of the Azawad,” and Terakaft insists their youth learn the Touareg language and history, “written in the mountains,” they romantically sing.
At times it feels like your listening to a film sequenced flashback as Terakaft (meaning “caravan”) carries and clips with country twang and gravely vocals, like a Saharan Johnny Cash or Arabic Bob Dylan. Other times you’re swept over by the undercurrents of ancient Touareg poetic repetitions. Tracks like “Akoz Imgharen” remind me of “La Bomba,” while the opening “Talikoba” harp back to a 50’s sway starkly revolutionized by Terakaft’s Tamasheq harmonies. On par with the recent release by Mali natives and Manu Chao produced, SMOD. The Touareg, a nomadic people commonly known as the “blue desert men” for their traditional blue robes, are praised and called to rebellion and resistance from exile and oppression on Aratan N Azawad, an album that riles with all the sultry smoke of Bob Marley on a dry and dusty day.