“Iswegh Attay,” by Tinariwen … (Desert Blues / Folk – Music to Your Ears–35)

in #musiclast year (edited)

To ease his pain, he turns to tea, in order to find inner peace.

Tinariwen – “Iswegh Attay”

“Iswegh Attay” (2011)

In this melancholy song, the protagonist bemoans his broken heart, or maybe his “scorched”  heart.   

Having missed a chance to meet a beautiful women, he feels as if he is now trapped. Trapped in a solitary cell of his own lonesome self. He yearns for freedom, but of course, freedom comes in its own time.  

Peace Through Tea

To ease his pain, he does not turn to booze – he turns to tea, in order to find inner peace. As everyone in the various tea lands knows, tea can be an elixir, a balm for the soul. And when prepared and imbibed ceremonially, tea can even provide spiritual serenity and peace.

That’s why the lovelorn singer drinks tea, and that's one of the reasons I drink tea.   (Image source)


Hailing from the Sahara region of northern Mali, Tinariwen is a collective of musicians from the nomadic Tuareg people. The collective has a core centered around guitarist / vocalist Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, with several of the members performing and recording regularly. But the band’s line-up varies considerably, particularly on its international tours. 

DIY Guitar

When Ag Alhabib was a young child, he had seen a cowboy playing a guitar in a western movie. Later, he took a stick, a tin can, and some bicycle brake wire, fashioned a makeshift guitar, and started playing local music, both traditional and pop.

In 1979, Ag Alhabib finally got a real acoustic guitar, and the same year, he formed the band. Fans soon started calling the band “Kel Tinariwen,”  which can be translated as “Desert Boys.”

The band’s core influences are the traditional music and the pop music of the region, including even the music of Bollywood. But they have also been influenced by a range of western musicians – from Kenny Rogers to Led Zeppelin. 

Trad, Pop, Rock, and Beyond

In the early 2000s, Tinariwen started to gain attention beyond their home region. With their 2007 album “Aman Iman,”  their popularity increased internationally. For close to 2 decades, they have toured throughout Europe, as well as North America, Australia, and Japan. Furthermore, they regularly perform at major festivals throughout the world.   

In 2005, Tinariwen was honored with the BBC’s “Award for World Music.”  In 2008, the band was awarded the Praetorius Music Prize in Germany. At the 2012 Grammy Awards, their album “Tassili”  won the award for “Best World Music Album.”   (Image source)

Taqqalahi tisnant alshash ere s taqqal sallul asraf
Eswegh atay ihan elkas azzar s-ulhin har tisantas
Tennedahi ham wer djennegh
Fel nammoqqas hamti-d sektugh
Ere s taqqal sallul asraf
Ed es nedjet nammos aslaf
Tamat tidagh dagh dassidjegh
Wer asbakegh wer aqqimagh
Akfor ahar abrur edjar muchan arne berin labkhar

     (Français – J'ai Bu Du Thé )
Cette douleur est un fardeau
Si mon cachot pouvait devenir aussi vaste qu’une plaine
J’ai bu un verre de thé qui a brûlé mon cœur en premier
Tu m’as dit quelque chose à laquelle je ne t’ai pas répondu
Si l’on se rencontre un jour je te répondrai
Cette femme que j’ai entraperçue
Sans même m’asseoir ni m’accroupir
Si mon cachot pouvait devenir aussi vaste qu’une plaine
Je m’envolerai comme un oiseau
Le lion est intrépide et la grenouille vulnérable
Mais elle est plus forte que lui pour trouver le chemin de la marre.   (Image source)

     (English – I’ve Drunk Some Tea )
This pain is a burden
If only my cell would turn into an open plain.
I drank a glass of tea that scorched my heart.
You told me something and I never answered
But if we meet one day, I’ll remind you
This woman, who I glimpsed
Without even sitting down or kneeling
If only this cell could become as vast as a prairie
I’d fly off like a bird
The lion is intrepid and the frog is vulnerable
But the latter is better at finding the path to water.

Lyrics by Tinariwen, Thanks to Sound Nations @– YouTube
Reference – Wikipedia
Reference – Chelly1213.blogspot.com
Reference – SocialTeaHouse.com

Into your ears … through 5 channels

 The various posts are categorized into 5 channels (Right-Click to see details)
         1 – “Music to Your Ears” (MTYE)
         2 – “Cover Versions”
         3 – “Honor Roll”
         4 – “Documentaries”
         5 – “Mock’n’Roll”

More “Music to Your Ears” ...

          Previous posts in this series – "MTYE posts 1–20"  

Links to my other series ...

          Lou Reed – "Anthology of Memorable Lyrics, Part 1"
          Lou Reed – "Anthology of Memorable Lyrics, Part 2"

          Great Lyrics, a compilation – “Part One – My Lyrics Posts 3~30”
          Great Lyrics, a compilation – “Part Two – My Lyrics Posts 31~60”  

          Vocab-Ability – "Introduction to Vocab-Ability"  
          Vocab-Ability – "Index"  to all Chapters and Sections  

          Notes from Under the Tatami Mats – "Part One – Notes 1~50"  
          Notes from Under the Tatami Mats – "Part Two – Notes 51~87"  


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This is unbelievable! I remember when I read about this song back in 2012. I had noted down their name on my phone, but never checked them later until that phone died... This time I didn't miss the second chance! I'm so glad of it! Thank you for letting me know Tinariwen finally! :)))

Great that you finally got a chance to hear them. Usually, I make notes of new musicians I hear about and think I might wanna hear. Otherwise, they'd pass me by, too.

Hope you enjoyed this.

I love this band! They've played in the UK before and I saw them at a festival. What a story of these people

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Cool. They must be great when seen / heard live.

This is a rather interesting entry. Before now, I knew that tea is good for the mind. However, this song shows that it can cure heartbreak or at least palliate its impact. Thanks for sharing.

I love this song for its softness and the music it brings to my ear. Cheers!

Its rhythms and melodies are soft, gentle, and soothing, arent they?

As for tea, I once read that "Tea is the medicine that became a beverage."

Sure, I agree that the song is soft, gentle, and soothing. Superb.

As for your quote, it's funny but very true. Thanks for sharing.

Tea is the medicine that became a beverage.


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Nice one there

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