Being in the shortlist for Uncut Magazine’s album of the year award, alongside such world-conquering artists as Bob Dylan and the Kings Of Leon, would for most World artists be a laughable fantasy. For Malian bluesmen Tinariwen however it’s a reality. Their incorporation of many standard Western influences like Hendrix, Bob Marley and Zeppelin gives Tinariwen a cross-over appeal that has seen them garner many awards, including the BBC’s 2005 award for World music and Germany’s coveted Praetorius Music Prize.

The interesting thing about their sound is how it shows the re-integration of blues-based influences in African music, thus bringing the lineage of Western pop back to where it all began.

With fans like Thom Yorke, Robert Plant, Santana, TV on the Radio, Bono and the Edge there’s no justifiable reason for any ambivalence on your part. The following aphorism might help negate any prejudices towards the often stigmatized “world music” genre; variety is the spice of life. If you agree with this you’ll probably enjoy Tinariwen’s latest release Imidiwan: Companions.

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