Terakaft (meaning "caravan" in Tamasheq) is a genuine desert rock band, sculpted by the pure searing air and the endless rolling sands of the Sahara.The stark, harsh conditions of the Sahara have permeated their wild riffs, and as a result Terakaft are the perfect embodiment of all that is wild and free in desert blues today. They have taken the electric guitar and made it their own.
Terakaft was formed in 2001 by Sanou Ag Ahmed, then based in Kidal, Mali with Kedou Ag Ossad. Kedou was a member of the original line-up of Tinariwen (four of Kedou’s compositions are embodied on their first international release "The Radio Tisdas Sessions").
Liya Ag Ablil (aka Diara), Sanou’s uncle, joined the band in 2006. Diara was also an original member of Tinariwen and was known for his fierce and passionate style of rock’n’roll guitar playing. He played with Tinariwen for almost 20 years, but stepped back just before Tinariwen started touring internationally. He’s still a close friend of Ibrahim "Abaraybone" Ag Alhabib, and played on Tinariwen’s last album "Imidiwan : Companions" (as did Sanou and Abdallah of Terakaft).
Terakaft recorded their first studio album "Bismilla, The Bko Sessions" in four days at the legendary Bogolan Studios in Bamako, Mali.
the Bko sessions
In a Bamako courtyard around 98, I heard a half whispered song on a broken guitar which entranced me. It led me, Philippe Brix and a few others to the Sahara desert to find where this music came from. Tuareg guitar - a looping groove, melancholy tune, a simplicity and a profundity - that called to mind the masters of the Delta, the spirit and defiance of the early Wailers, with a desert flavour between Gnawa trance and Ali Farka's serpentine swing. Tinariwen was a loose collective of originators, among them Diara, the master of the Saharan rhythm guitar. Together with Sanou, an archetypal Saharan cowboy, with Wah Wah Watson sideboards and full Rock and Roll attitude, they became Terakaft, guardians of the original Tuareg guitar.