Tiris is a Saharawi music and dance sensation from the refugee camps in South West Algeria. Fusing the best of tradition and innovation in a raw and powerful way, they sing of love, loss, and their long struggle and aspirations for independence in their homeland of Western Sahara.
Named after one of the most symbolic and sacred places in the cultural lore of Western Sahara, Tiris is a group of vocalists who perform accompanied by the traditional t’bal drum, the four stringed tidinit, electric guitar and keyboard-synthesizer and accordion. The 8-member strong group accentuates the outstanding voices of young rising star, Mufeed and Shueta, known locally as the “Aretha Franklin” of the Sahara, who has sung for years for the struggle.
Tiris’s first major public performance was at the prestigious Festival of the Desert in Mali in January 2006. Their concert was met with great enthusiasm.
Manny Ansar, the festival director hailed them as:
One of the best performances this year – absolutely wonderful!! I am delighted TIRIS were able to participate!
Programmed on the opening night, they were invited to perform again on the last night by popular demand. Tiris were interviewed by Radio France International, Reuters TV and BBC World Service Radio.
In the UK, Tiris were the artistic highlights of the 2007 Sandblast Festival and Tour. On their tour they performed at a wide range of venues including SouthBank, Brighton Dome, Musicport festival. They featured on BBC London Live radio, the Ticket and numerous other radio programmes.
In collaboration with Sandblast, Tiris produced their first CD Sandtracks in 2007.
Sandtracks is ancient yet contemporary music. Music that broods and builds. Music that reaches back across centuries to recall the ancient African origin of blues, jazz and soul, music full of Arabic flavour while never losing its remarkable Berber character. This is music still learning to assimilate sounds from Spain, Oran, Europe and beyond. Here are Tiris, playing hypnotic trancemusic from deep in the Saharan night.
Sandtracks received a five-star review in Songlines and a four-star review in The Guardian for its digital re-release in December 2011. Buy Sandtracks at the Sandblast shop.
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