- 23 Feb 18
Imarhan are a five-piece all the way from Tamanrasset, the principal city of the Tuareg people, located in the Ahaggar Mountains in Southern Algeria, who sing in their native Tamasheq language. The title of this, their second record after 2016’s well-received self-titled release, translates as “connections”, a reference to how everything would be better if we could all just get along. Which is all very exotic and right on, but is it any good? Yes. Very.
On slower numbers like ‘Tarha Nam’, ‘Ma S-Abok’, and the brilliant ‘Zinizjumegh’, they sound a lot like their mentors Tinariwen, singing around the campfire – frontman Sadam is, it turns out, a cousin of Tinariwen’s Eyadou Ag Leche, who helps out on production here, as he did on the previous record. But one of Tinariwen’s great strengths is their ability to lock into a groove, and Imarhan have picked up on this too. Indeed, it is on the more urban sounding numbers that the band really takes off.
The bass and percussion on opener ‘Azzaman’ and the undulating ‘Tamudre’ are both aimed at your feet, while first single, ‘Ehad Wa Dagh’, kicks off with a sped up version of that famous Bo Diddley beat, before ramping up the electric guitars even further. ‘Imuhagh’ drags the tempo back to a sinuous dance that you can almost taste the sand off, and ‘Tumast’ starts off in a similar place, before building to a whirling frenzy - showcasing a contender for fastest guitar in the East.