An improvisational tour de force of traditional rhythms and scales. The group's name is the ancient name of the city of Timbuktu. Their style is simply tehardent, after the traditional stringed instrument played by these musicians. The group's leader, Abellow Yattara, hails from a well-known Tuareg griot family which has performed this music for generations. He began to play this three-stringed fretless instrument when he was 10 years old. Both his father and uncle were master musicians and his grandfather was also known for making the ceremonial swords used in traditional dance that accompanies the music. Known as tehardent in Tamasheq, ngoni in Bambara, kourbou in Sonhrai, and tidinit in Arabic, it is widely heard in traditional West Africa and is the precursor of the modern banjo. Instruments similar to the tehardent have accompanied griots, bards, dancers, and vocalists for centuries. The percussion instruments on this recording are the calabash, a hollowed half-gourd.