Faris Amine (Italy/Algeria)
‘Desert Blues’ was a term created by music journalists back in the 90s to describe the music of Ali Farka Toure, Tinariwen, and others. But American blues really does have its roots in West Africa, particularly the Sahel and Sahara regions. Amongst the originators of the blues are the Kel Tamasheq or Tuareg people, who live there. "If you go to the desert, yes, it really becomes self evident how the blues are linked to these lands, every person who listens to traditional tuareg music will think of the blues", says guitarist, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Faris Amine.
Amin was born of a Touareg mother and an Italian father, grew up in a musical environment, lived in several countries and was influenced by many musical styles. Traditional touareg music, though, was a major influence on him due to his maternal connections - as was American blues, the music of Muddy Waters and others.
He recorded his debut single "Derhan Alker" with Terakaft in 2010, and performed as a soloist with Tinariwen at the Festival au Désert in Mali in 2012. After years of collaborations and touring with Tartit, Terakaft, and Tinariwen, he released his debut album Mississippi to Sahara, produced by Reaktion and distributed by Wrasse Records, Universal France. On this album, Faris brings 12 rural Delta blues songs back home to Africa, revisiting them in the guitar style known as assouf and showing how close the souls of these two worlds are to each other.
The record was critically acclaimed - Faris has this great ability to mix things up without messing things up. He did amazing arrangements of the songs, respecting the originals but adding a lot of new things to them, not to mention his playing and singing, rich, full of finesse and emotions. "Faris is amazing!" said American blues master Taj Mahal, listening to the record, "This is the most amazing movement to happen with this great music!".
As a young and promising artist with a rich history and a remarkable repertoire, Faris is an example of how Tuareg music is evolving, and making connections both new and ancient. His will be a do-not-miss performance at the festival.