When: Tue., May 3, 8 p.m. 2016
On their recent eponymous debut for City Slang this young Tuareg ensemble, whose members grew up together in southern Algeria, join Nigerien guitarist Bombino in pushing Saharan guitar music toward Western influences. Imarhan move easily between different settings, though they never abandon the cycling riffs, clopping rhythms, and soulfully restrained singing. Acoustic guitars and sparse organ stabs shape the airy folksiness of “Tarha Tadagh,” while there’s a driving, almost funky thrust to “Tahabort,” and the influence of Algerian rai wends its way into the incessant groove of “Imarhan.” Naturally, front man Iyad Moussa Ben Abderahmane (aka Sadam) is related to a member of wildly popular Tuareg outfit Tinariwen, but this combo are definitely staking out their own turf. The deft interplay of guitars would still be seductive even if Imarhan lacked originality.