The Wanderers

There couldn't possibly be a better band than Tinariwen playing at Coachella. The upcoming music festival's 100-degree heat? No problem for a group of nomads who grew up in the Sahara surviving brutal conditions, crushing droughts, and widespread starvation. How about the fest's famously hostile security guards? Big whoop for musicians who underwent General Gadhafi's army indoctrinations in Libya. And what of all those drug-addled technophiles, sneering hipsters, and flailing goths at Coachella? Tinariwen’s members fought the vicious Malian army during the Tuareg revolution. Nowadays, when the worst trauma the septet must endure is a review on Pitchfork — its third album, 2007's Aman Iman, scored an 8.1 — playing Coachella is a walk in the park, er, desert. Although the group's producer (and Robert Plant's guitarist) Justin Adams said he heard the Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, and Howlin' Wolf in Tinariwen's playing, the ensemble sounds thoroughly Saharan — vast and epic, gorgeously mournful, a delicate, evocative mix of serpentine guitar, chittering percussion, and soaring vocals. Trying out new material from its recently recorded fourth disc, the group arrives in S.F. for a pre-Coachella performance for SFJAZZ Spring Season.
Thu., April 16, 8 p.m., 2009

 
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