Unfortunately I won't see Tinariwen when they support The Rolling Stones later this year nor will I see them at this year's Glastonbury festival, but at the Sage? Hell yes!
A few decades ago Tinariwen would be as comfortable sporting Kalashnikovs in the deserts of Mali as they would guitars. They don't have the long history of drug-induced inspiration that you'd find with The Rolling Stones. Tinariwen's path to musical stardom is very much linked to the complexity of African politics. Their website provides a detailed history and timeline, both of which I recommend as this band's past is fascinating.
They are currently touring to promote their third CD, Aman Iman (Water is Life). It is Sahara Desert Blues at its finest. I present you with Cler Achel (I Spent The Day) as an example of their works. Recorded in the capital of Mali, Bamako, it captures the raw rhythm of their style.
As far as live performances are concerned, their show at the Sage was confident and compelling. This is a group that clearly enjoys their music and have quickly grown a massive following.
World music, like world cinema, is a genre that shouldn't really exist. This is folk. This is blues. This is rock and roll.
If you are interested in learning more about Tinariwen, your first port of call should be their website.
Their albums are available at the iTunes store and Amazon.com.