“Desert blues” might not be immediately familiar to many, but it’s not as peculiar as it might seem. In this case, it’s traditional Tuareg music, based out of Mali and the Sahara desert, performed by the guitar-centric Terakaft (“caravan” in the band's native Tuareg dialect).
The members of Terakaft were formerly part of a similar band known as Tinariwen, but the trio broke away a few years ago.
The spiraling, wild and trancey tunes of this rarely-seen stateside group can take on a political edge (Mali’s continually facing conflicts in war), and yet their songs are purposeful and encouraging, not bleak.
Terakaft comes to the Wex in support of the current “Blues for Smoke” exhibition and should provide a grander perspective of “the blues.”