Malian blues band Tinariwen kicked off its North American tour last night at Lincoln Hall in Chicago, playing tunes from its forthcoming album, Tassili (Anti-, 8/30/11). To record the new album, the band took to the Algerian desert with only acoustic guitars and percussion. Joining in the recording process were TV on the Radio members Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone and Nels Cline of Wilco and the Nels Cline Singers.
Though the band’s numbers can swell to upwards of 10 musicians, a more-than-capable quintet took to the stage in Chicago. Clad in traditional Malian tunics and turbans, the band worked the crowd into a fervor with equal parts uptempo, guitar-driven rock and plaintive African blues.