Willing to bet, in all your years, you’ve never seen a band of Tuareg musicians.

Willing to bet a little less that you might not even know what ‘Tuareg’ is (it’s OK. We’re not here to judge). Tuareg are a group of people from the Sahara, from as far north as Libya to as far south as Burkina Faso. Tinariwen are from Mali, which sticks to the Western side of the Sahara.

Tuareg are also, by definition, nomadic — which alone makes Tinariwen‘s story fascinating. Add in a constantly-rotating cast of band members and near-constant political upheaval in their homeland (which we all know is the genesis of great art), and you have what Slate has called “music’s true rebels.” Even more incredible is that Tinariwen has been doing their thing since 1979 and remain one of the most in-demand groups. They still hold court among rock musicians old and new — over the years, everyone from members of Wilco to Kurt Vile have contributed to their albums — and are a seemingly mandatory festival booking all over the world.

They’re not the only Malian rock band to have hits outside of their home country — Songhoy Blues, products of a similar story of exile, recently made it to underground success with by-the-book rock and roll that transcends borders real and imagined. If you want to know more about music outside of the Western world, Tinariwen at the UC is a good place to start. You’ll get a crash-course in geopolitical history, and just a fun night out all in one. Come to the UC for Tinariwen and leave a more well-rounded person.

Joining them are Dirtwire, an Oakland-based Americana group. Though disparate, both bands bring the sounds of their country from unexpected home bases.

Tinariwen, Dirtwire
The UC Theatre
July 31, 2018
8pm, $40

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