Students will get the chance to experience a genre of music not commonly explored — world music. Tinariwen is coming to The State Theatre as part of the first ever World Music Series being held at the venue at 8:30 tonight.
Tinariwen, whose name means “empty places” and “desert,” reflects the struggles they faced during the times of turmoil in Algeria.
Tinariwen is a group of Touareg soldier-musicians that began playing together in a town called Tamanrasset , located in southern Algeria.
The members of the group spent years in military training together and time on the battlefield in the Southern Sahara, according to its website. They continued to form in Libyan refugee camps under the Gaddafi rule.
The group has collaborated with music acts, such as Wilco, and toured with musicians, such as Santana and The Rolling Stones. The group’s latest album, “Tassili,” includes songs with help from the band TV On The Radio. The songs are sung in Tamashek, the members’ native language.
“I think they’re the coolest band on the planet at the moment,” Josh Ferko said.
Singing songs in a different language is not the only sign of culture present in its performance. Ferko, owner of Stax of Trax, which is sponsoring the event and located in Webster’s Bookstore; said he has seen them live several times and calls them “unbelievable” and “visually stunning.”
He said the group performs in its traditional robes as well, which adds a visual aspect to the performance.
Ferko is on the music concert selection committee for The State Theatre, and he had a lot to do with advocating for the group to perform, he said.
“My thought was if we’re going to get some world music or some reggae, go for the best,” he said.
He said the group’s music style is similar to older American blues and has a spiritual feel to it, adding it is almost trance-like.
“If you really let it take you, it will take you away,” he said.
He said the singers’ vocals are great, and he mentioned that one of the background singers, who also plays guitar, is also an incredible dancer, which adds to the performance.
Marketing Director of The State Theatre Cathy Brown said that having Tinariwen’s songs be in another language should not deter audiences from seeing the performance.
“Even though you may not understand, individually, the words, you can understand what’s going on,” she said. “It’s because they’re musicians.”
She said the group’s sound is very unique and this is not an opportunity people have every day. She added that students might have previously heard of them, especially those interested in world music.
Richard Biever , executive director of The State Theatre, said the performance supports the mission of the venue and its goal to have diverse programs. The idea of the World Music Series sprouted after they decided on bringing Tinariwen.
He said the members of the band came out of a time of war and strife in their region.
“It comes out of this turmoil in their homeland,” he said. “It’s deeper than just a band getting together.”
To email reporter: email@example.com