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When: Mon., June 21, 8 p.m. 2010
Price: $20-$30

First appearing on the international scene in the early 2000s, this captivating band of Tuareg musicians formed at a refugee camp in northern Mali in 1979. Three decades later, it seems to have lost none of its outlaw spirit or artistic focus, having consistently produced not only some of Africa's finest music, but indeed all of world music's. Tinariwen's latest, last year's Imidiawn: Companions, is one of its boldest and most cohesive releases, a blend of deeply cyclical desert grooves and visceral blues-rock guitar bound by as much good songwriting in one place as the band has yet offered. Simmering above it all is a melodic vocal sensibility rooted in call-and-response chanting that, while foreign to anyone who doesn't speak Tamashek, is as boundless as Tinariwen's desert home. The very sight of them, with their glowing robes and electric guitars, is enough to elicit joy; and to watch them play is to gather around a Sahara campfire with a circle of friends. At Yoshi's San Francisco (1330 Fillmore St.) on Monday, Jun. 21. 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., $20-$30.

— Nate Seltenrich


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