2012 Best Music Poll Winners

World Music


The music of Mali became familiar to American audiences initially through the collaborations of the late Ali Farka Touré and Ry Cooder. Tinariwen are a whole other deal. Formed by members of the Tuareg people from the country’s northern Sahara region, the band mines much of the same territory: hypnotic grooves and electric guitar with a clear reference to American blues, though with hymnal-like group vocals all their own. Born in exile by musicians living in Libya, the band was brought together by Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, himself the son of a Tuareg rebel who had been executed after a 1963 uprising. Now Mali is again embroiled in violence, and the Tuareg people have declared their independence. Tinariwen, meanwhile, last played Boston in November 2011 in a World Music/CrashArts show. Clearly our readers have not forgotten.

Runners-up:  Altan, Johnny Clegg, Touré-Raichel Collective

_Jon Garelick


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