Tinariwen – Don’t Panic, 2012

Conducted in April 2012. Read the full article.

From the piece:

Here in the UK at least, there’s a language barrier for your music. In your music, is the voice another instrument, or does a listener lose something listening to you without taking time to understand the words?

Of course the lyrics are important, and very poetic – that’s why we translate them for our album booklets and on our website. But listening without understanding the lyrics is just another way to receive the message.

Following on from that: your music is often political, and by the nature of the formation of your band, maybe, it’s rebellious. Is music a good vehicle for politics or rebellion?

Music is a good way to deal with liberty.

Tinariwen has a famously great live sound. How important is live performance? Can it do things that a recording can’t?

Playing live is a natural way to play for us. Recording isn’t. We started recording albums later, but we’ve always performed live. Playing live is different from one night to another and recording is only a photograph of one moment. They are two great things, although very different.

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