Dag Tenere – Iswat

Fans of Mdou Moctar and Les Filles de Illighadad could easily obsess over the hypnotic Tuareg fusion jams of Dag Tenere’s Iswat.

Dag Tenere (which translates to “desert’s children”), is a multifaceted group of Tuareg artists that hail from Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. The group plays a particular style of music called “assouf,” or “desert blues,” which is a fusion of rock or blues elements with traditional Tuareg or other North African or Malian music. While the likes of Mdou Moctar may be operating deeper into the rock end of this wide musical spectrum, on this release, Dag Tenere appears to be leaning heavier into its blues side.

Just listen to the grooving “Koud Edhaz Emin,” for instance. The guitar work here is pure blues boogie with a slight North African twist. It could nearly pass for a John Lee Hooker lick, as it coils under the track’s catchy vocals. The repetitive nature of the song’s beat and main riff brings to mind the extended jams of artists like Canned Heat or The Allman Brothers Band, which gives the tune massive longevity. This, as well as all of the songs on this EP, could easily stretch out an additional 10 minutes or more without getting old.

The majority of the record has a mellow smoothness to it, which makes it a supremely relaxing listen. This calm vibe is perhaps at its peak on the gentle “Anna.” With a chill, nearly dub-like beat, soothingly quiet vocals and Jerry Garcia-esque guitar tendrils, this song is like a cool breeze picking up at the end of a hot summer’s day. When overheated, just put on this track, and you’ll be frosty in no time.

Grab this EP today on CD or digital download from Dag Tenere’s Bandcamp, and give your summer the smooth soundtrack it deserves.


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Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and Thewaster.com and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

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