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Tinariwen Share New Song 'Azawad' + New Zealand Shows Upcoming At The End Of May

'Azawad' artwork IMAGE/SUPPLIED

Tinariwen, the pioneering, Grammy-winning Tuareg collective, share new single ‘Azawad’, out today via Wedge. Azawad is the Tuareg area in Northern Mali that Tinariwen are paying tribute to, and the single cover artwork is a photo of a famous sculpture in the area called ‘The Lovers’. The lyrics are really personal to the band, as the region has been deeply affected by the ongoing terrorism from different factions, causing serious political and humanitarian issues. For decades, Tinariwen have remained ambassadors for the Tuareg people, a way of life in tune with the natural world, which is under threat as never before.

This song is released ahead of Tinariwen's upcoming appearances in Aotearoa — their first stop on their world tour — in which they will be performing in Auckland and Wellington alongside local musical guests LEAO, as well as streaming live from Roundhead Studios on May 28, as part of the Infinity Sessions.

The songs’ lyrics translate to “Azawad and its children watch as the rebellion begins to emerge. The forces of Azawad protect its leaders and its territory. A revolution that all the sons of Azawad salute, and of which the martyrs are the victims.” The band will also embark on a world tour in May, starting in New Zealand and Australia, followed by North America, then ending in the UK and Europe at the end of September, including festival appearances at the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall, Vivid Live Festival at Sydney Opera House, Newport Folk Festival, and Green Man Festival.

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Since they emerged from their base in the African desert to tour the globe, they have got to know many renowned country, folk, and rock musicians from the USA including Kurt Vile, Stephen O'Malley, Jack White, and Wilco. Tuareg nomads and cowboy drifters. Camel trains and mustang horses. The timeless horizon of the endless Sahara and the wild frontier of the Old West - several thousand miles of ocean may divide the desert blues of Tinariwen and the authentic country music of rural America but the links are as palpable as they are romantic.

Though Tuareg culture is as old as that of ancient Greece or Rome, the songs of Tinariwen speak to the current and often tough reality of Tuareg life today. Unsurprisingly, there are impassioned references to Mali’s ongoing political and social turmoil. Full of poetic allegory, the lyrics call for unity and freedom. There are songs of struggle and resistance with oblique references to the recent desperate political upheavals in Mali and the increasing power of the Salafists. Tinariwen’s message has never sounded more urgent and compelling than it does today.

TINARIWEN
UPCOMING NZ SHOWS
WITH OPENING GUEST LEAO
STRANGE NEWS x BANISHED MUSIC

29 MAY 2024 - POWERSTATION, AUCKLAND
30 MAY 2024 — OPERA HOUSE, WELLINGTON

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