I have been digging on Tinariwen recently, thanks to my music buddy Shaun. I cannot recommend them enough to someone looking to branch out their musical interests to something currently relevant:
They are literally freedom fighters, fighting for the right to self-determination for the Tuareg people of Berber stock in Mali and Algeria. They came together and started making music about their situation while they were wielding guns in the ’80s and ’90s. The music they play can be called a “cousin” of the American blues, as it derives also from some of the West African origins where the blues originated, and it is specifically called in their language tishoumaren, meaning “unemployed,” very similar to the same concept of the blues in America.
Simply put, they’re pretty amazing.