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Alone - Terakaft OutHere Records

Terakaft is crossing a line in the Saharan sand. But, those sands are ever shifting and the motion not easily perceptible. The new release, Alone represents a subtle tack from trance to dance and desert blues fans are going to love the definition. Terakaft's Tuareg brothers, Tinariwen entrance and inspire chicken-necking Western fans with their cyclical chants on top of inimitable grooviness. Tuareg upstart axeman, Bombino rocked the desert blues on his second release, Nomad, with the production help of Black Keys' Dan Auerbach. But, his approach was bombastic, painting in bold, powerful strokes. Terakaft, like great masters alter the art form with gentle shading. "Perhaps there's a harder edge in the music because of what happened in Mali in 2012," explains singer/guitarist Sanou Ag Ahmed. "But, it's an unconscious thing. Our goal with this was to make the songs very danceable." You might also say 'more accessible', even to radio, should here be such stations willing to take a chance on contemporary global music. Each track on Alone, times out at about 3 and 1/2 minutes. As the rhythm of 'Anabayou' establishes with a distinctive bounce, listeners will feel something new in the groove, while the earthy buzz of the now familiar electric Tuareg blues brings them back to the dunes. Robert Plant sideman and desert blues aficionado, Justin Adams produced 'Alone':"Terakaft sounds like the guardians of the original Tuareg guitar music I heard back in the 1990's, " he explains. "In these troubled times, we have made an album that presents the deep Saharan rhythms as a vital contemporary heartbeat." 'Anabayou' or 'Awkward', the opener, represents one of the new songs written for this album. Some of the 9 selections are a bit older, coming from the time of despair that came with the incursion of Islamist extremists into the Tuareg home of Northern Mali. That feeling of isolation is captured in the title 'Alone' or 'Ténéré'. "They began to forbid music and many other things," recalls Ag Amed. "How could we live without music? It is such a great thing for all of us. Music is pure life in the desert. Music is like freedom."