We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.



Composed of nomadic Tuareg tribes people from the Malian portion of the Sahara desert who went into exile in Libya in the ’80s and returned to Mali in the ’90s to fight a rebellion against the now-gone military dictatorship, Tinariwen is not your typical guitar band. The group adopted electric guitars in exile, creating a modernized Tuareg sound by melding Middle Eastern and North African traditional music with the John Lee Hooker and Bob Marley they heard on cassettes. With no recording or concert industries to sustain it as full-time musicians, the group’s membership frequently changes, and only a core element is present for each rare tour or album. But on Tinariwen’s new CD, Amassakoul, the band overcomes these obstacles, offering raw, Bo Diddley– in–a–sandstorm axwork with vocals that incorporate chants, rap, and Native American influences. Tinariwen performs at 8 p.m. at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, 21st and H Streets, NW. $20–$25. (301) 808-6900. (Steve Kiviat)