Grammy-Winning Tinariwen Bring Political Struggle To The Forefront With New Song ‘Assàwt’

Written by Molly McDonough

Ahead of the release of new album Elwan on February 10th, Mali natives Tinariwen have released a further taste of what fans can expect from the album, with new track Assáwt giving voice to the oppression in their nation.

Assáwt grippingly depicts the effects of the current oppression of Malian women. Inspired by their native roots, the song embodies Tinariwen’s famous guitar and percussion driven sound, known as ‘assouf’ among the Tuareg people. In a press release, the band shared an English translation of the lyrics:

That’s the voice
of the Tamashek women
Searching for their freedom.
Those are the thoughts
of the old women
Living in a Sahara devoid of water,
Desiccated and miserable,
My wish is for it
to stop being subservient.
This is a message for those
Who toil for the revolution.

As heard in the Assáwt lyrics, there is a heavy political influence to their sound. The band recorded Elwan, and their 2014 album Emmaar, after being forced out of Mali by jihadi forces and the nation’s political regime. Since 1979, Tinariwen have been providing a rebellious voice to the issues faced in their homeland, with their new music only continuing to project this message worldwide.

Catch Tinariwen touring Elwan in the UK:

7th March: Liverpool – Invisible Wind Factory

8th March: Birmingham – Glee

9th March: London – Brixton Electric

25th April: Edinburgh – Queens Hall

26th April: Glasgow – Oran Mor

27th April: Cardiff – Tramshed

28th April: Oxford – Academy

29th April: Frome – Cheese and Grain

Listen to the beautiful Assáwt here:


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