The RV might be winterized and staying put until the spring thaw, but we're not. Now that I have the all clear from my cardiologist, my wife and are are planning a 20-day trip to Morocco. It'll be the first time that either of us has set foot on the African continent: With its French colonial influence and their King's tourist-friendly policies, it seems like a great place to dip our toes in the continent's waters.
Plus, it's cities, country side deserts and mountains are absolutely stunning. With out tickets purchased, we're now in the throes of planning our itinerary (which we always tend to keep a bit loosey-goosey.) I'm brushing up on my mediocre French. My partner is taking Darija lessons. I'm taking a HEAT course to polish up my already existing skill set, given that Morocco's neighbors have been a little rambunctious of late.
Perhaps most important out of all of our preparations, is the fact that my travel playlist is slowly coming together. I find that having the right music while moving into and out of an adventure helps to set the mood for the whole thing.
Tinariwen is a band that's been around for decades. Maybe you've heard of them. They only showed up as a ping on my radar within the last year. originally hails from Mali,
Tinariwen is a group of Tuareg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali. The band was formed in 1979 in Tamanrasset, Algeria, but returned to Mali after a cease-fire in the 1990s. The group first started to gain a following outside the Sahara region in 2001 with the release of The Radio Tisdas Sessions, and with performances at Festival au Désert in Mali and the Roskilde Festival in Denmark. Their popularity rose internationally with the release of the critically acclaimed Aman Iman in 2007. NPR calls the group "music's true rebels", AllMusic deems the group's music "a grassroots voice of rebellion", and Slate calls the group "rock 'n' roll rebels whose rebellion, for once, wasn't just metaphorical".
No matter what you call them, they're the very essence of the shit. Any band that can convey soul and loneliness to a listener who doesn't speak the same language, is something special. The Tinariwen album that I invested in, Amadar, has a lot of that going on. Add a few guest players into the mix like Warren Ellis and Cass McCombs, and you've got the makings of something really special. After a few weeks of owning it, their rhythms and melodies have set up shop in my brain, rent-free, in a way that no other music act has done in a very long time.