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The band Tinariwen are Tuareg from the southern Sahara desert in Mali. Their nomadic ancestors have made their way across the desert for thousands of years.


Their song Cler Achel (I Spent the Day), is about the droughts and exiles of years past:


It’s a time which separates the beloved from those they love
And when you think of them, painful obsessive thoughts are all that come.

Nomadic poets

The Tuareg are semi-nomadic and have traditionally made their living raising goats and camels and collecting edible and medicinal plants. They have been crossing the Sahara for at least 5,000 years on camel caravans, trading desert salt for for millet, cloth, and other foods and goods.

The Tuareg have a strong tradition of poetry, the themes of which are usually love, war, and expressions of daily life. Tuareg poetry is like a daily journal of important and everyday experiences of the group. The poetry ranges from historical to geographical, political to anthropological.


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