Imarhan are an Algerian Tuareg rock band formed in 2006 in Tamanrasset, Algeria. They are this generations Tinariwen. They released their first and self-titled album in 2016 followed up by ‘Temet’ in 2018. I was lucky enough to catch them on the UK leg of their tour at one of York’s best music venues, the Crescent. There was no support band, but we were warmed up for the show by an incredibly intuitive DJ whose set crossed Africa, the Middle East, and Jamaica. He played a cover version of Bob Marley’s “War” by a female vocalist which was stunning. (I need to find out who that singer was if you know please tell me – UPDATE – check the comment below from the DJ, Dave Atkin a.k.a. Drummie Dave, the song is by Neyssattou & Likkle Mai ).
I had listened to some of Imarhan‘s current album before the show, but I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but they were highly recommended by a few of my friends, thank you, Dan Lucas! There is a definite middle eastern vibe throughout their music, with an obvious African influence all of which is underpinned by some western rock music stylings. The lead singer and guitarist could probably play any Santana track just as well as Carlos himself. The bass player was among the funkiest that I have ever seen or heard, he sure knows how to get his desert groove on. If there is such an establishment then this guy will have graduated from the Larry Graham Academy of Bassology! Ask your Grand Parents about Mr. Graham kids. The drummer was incredibly talented but also looked like the most chilled dude that I have seen in years. Very special mention to the percussionist who played a range of instruments some of which I had never seen before. It was clear to me that Imarhan are at the top of their game and they were really enjoying themselves on that stage. The vast majority of the crowd, including me and my wonderful wife Catherine a.k.a Catwoman danced the night away. It has to be said that like many Brits I only speak English so I have no idea what Imarhan are singing about, but that really does not matter, this just proves once again that music really is a universal language that transcends the need for a common spoken language. Check out any of Imarhan’s albums and if you get a chance to see them play live take it!
All the photos apart from the gig poster were taken on my cheap android phone. The videos were all found on YouTube, if one of them is yours and you would like a credit or for me to remove it please let me know.
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Hiya, nice review, it was yet another corker from the Ouroboros Crew. I was that DJ btw so thanks for the words, much appreciated. That version of War: https://youtu.be/LPPmI7QFdGM
By Neyssattou & Likkle Mai taken from the recent On-U Sound compilation LP ‘Pay It All Back vol.7’
Thanks, Dave I hope to catch up with you again sometime 🙂 It was a brilliant gig!
👍 The Crescent is my favourite stamping ground so see you there sometime no doubt. Cheers!
It is one of mine too. I was also there on Friday and Saturday. I will also be promoting my first gig there on Friday 3rd January 2020 🙂