Aboogi (City Slang)

Contact Yuri Kwon about Imarhan

Tuareg quintet Imarhan releases “Adar Newlan,” a collaboration with Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals and the third single off of their third studio album, Aboogi. Imarhan and Rhys wrote and recorded the song together at Aboogi Studio, the band’s studio in Tamanrasset, Algeria. Sung in the musicians’ native languages of Tamasheq and Welsh, the song is about the universal value of kinship and more specifically highlights the struggles of the young people of Tamanrasset. The video for “Adar Newlan” was directed, written, and animated by Hugo and Rodolphe Jouxtel of Fantômes and produced by Ondine Benetier for La Blogothèque and Wedge. The song follows two previous singles, “Tamiditin (feat. Japonais)” and “Achinkad.”


Imarhan first met Rhys in London at an Africa Express event, organized by Damon Albarn. Rhys elaborates on their collaboration: “My time at Aboogi with Imarhan was unforgettable. We hid from the sun and drank hot strong tea in the orange tent within the studio’s outdoor compound and exchanged musical ideas. New friends singing in multiple languages; Tamasheq, Welsh, French, English, Arabic drifted on the air from the studio door into the yard. Songs seemed to flow and grow quickly and effortlessly in these conditions. Right where the city meets the mountains, and where you can glimpse both worlds, capped by the ceiling of their gigantic sky – without barely moving your head.“


The video depicts a man coming to listen to a group of Tuaregs who recall the legendary struggles of their ancestors as they sit by the fireside. Time passing has transformed the history into tales and legends, spawning many versions as tea is prepared. Story telling becomes dialogue and dialogue becomes lively debate. Imarhan says, “As we delve into their contrasting imaginations, the truth seems to slip like sand between our fingers…finally giving way to a common story, enriched by sharing and begging to be reinterpreted, again and again.”


Imarhan built Aboogi Studio themselves so that they could finally record on their home soil and provide the same resources to other artists in the Tamanrasset area. On the region, Rhys said, “A simple four meter walk to the studio then to document these ideas live and in the moment – [it was] the perfect way to record. To get to visit Tamanrasset in the first place, to receive the warmest welcome possible and to travel into the desert and witness all its beautiful glory by day and its infinite stars at night was life changing enough in itself, but that’s an entirely different story!” It seemed only natural to also call the resulting collection of songs Aboogi, a nod to the new collective space Imarhan created, as well as the historic resilience of their culture and people.


Aboogi also features collaborations with Sudanese singer Sulafa Elyas and Tinariwen’s Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni, solidifying Imarhan as a truly global group, united with their collaborators in a spirit of resistance and societal change. Following Imarhan’s exhilarating 2018 album Temet, Aboogi’s featherweight, festive music belies the band’s fierce sense of conviction and justice. These are the complexities that make Imarhan’s music so prescient – beauty and tranquility intermingle with strife and heartache, creating a dynamic view of life for those subjugated by over a century of colonialism and lopsided revolutions but blessed with extraordinary community, art and culture.


Imarhan are: Iyad Moussa Ben Abderahmane (aka Sadam), Tahar Khaldi, Hicham Bouhasse, Haiballah Akhamouk and Abdelkader Ourzig.