Unfortunately, Tinariwen can't return home to Mali due to political instability but maybe there is some solace in their resplendent desert blues.
I had seen Tinariwen twice before 2014. The first time I saw them was at Clearwater Festival, where the band was one of my highlights for the day, but may have be overlooked by those people who had parked their chairs in front of the stage and wandered off to return for later performances. The band’s faces were covered by their headdresses (tagelmusts) but their colorful robes matched well with the colorful tent. The second time I saw them was not long after, when the band performed for MTV at SOB’s in New York City. I forget how I got in, but tickets hadn’t been sold for the event, so the show didn’t draw in the public. My third time seeing them (fourth if you count the short free set at the Ace Hotel earlier this year but excluding the interview I did with Ag Alhousseyni earlier), was their March 24th show, their second night at Brooklyn Bowl. $20 tickets to see an amazing (there really isn’t any weight to adding Grammy-winning) desert band are hard to pass up and the first night had sold out. With less restrictions, these shows were accessible by true fans and, more importantly, by Tinariwen’s compatriots.