Toumast
Tinariwen Lyrics


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Walking through it
Walking in the winter
The desert
Then I see it
My beloved

Dancing through fire
Dancing through fire

The ideals of the people have been sold off cheap, my friends
Any peace imposed by force is bound to fail
And give way to hatred
My people, where is that self-confidence




Made of dignity and beauty of spirit
That our ancestors bequeathed to us?

Overall Meaning

The opening lines of Tinariwen's song 'Toumast' describe a journey through the desert landscape in winter, which lends a feeling of barrenness and isolation. Suddenly, the singer sees his beloved and with her, dances through fire. The image of dancing through fire is a powerful one, symbolizing a willingness to go through hardship in pursuit of something worthwhile. In this case, it could represent the struggle for freedom and the sacrifices made to achieve it.


The second half of the song turns to a more political message, lamenting the loss of ideals and the imposition of peace through force. The singer expresses a longing for the self-confidence and dignity of spirit that their ancestors possessed. The tone is one of yearning for a better future, but also a recognition of challenges that must be overcome.


The overall message of the song seems to be one of hope and resilience. Despite the challenges faced by the singer and his people, whether in personal relationships or in the political sphere, they are determined to keep fighting for a better life.


Line by Line Meaning

Walking through it
Traversing the vast and empty expanse of the desert


Walking in the winter
Braving the harsh and unforgiving climate of the winter season


The desert
The barren and desolate landscape of the Sahara


Then I see it
Suddenly, my eyes behold a sight of great significance


My beloved
The object of my deepest affection and devotion


Dancing through fire
Surviving and thriving in the face of great adversity and danger


Dancing through fire
Continuing to move forward despite the obstacles and challenges that lie ahead


The ideals of the people have been sold off cheap, my friends
The values and principles that our community once held dear have been betrayed and devalued


Any peace imposed by force is bound to fail
Forcing a resolution to conflict will only lead to its eventual collapse and failure


And give way to hatred
The resentment and animosity that such a solution breeds will only breed more discord and hostility


My people, where is that self-confidence
Why have we lost the inherent self-assuredness and self-respect that defines our culture


Made of dignity and beauty of spirit
Born from the inherent worth and inner grace that reside within each of us


That our ancestors bequeathed to us?
The legacy of strength and honor that was passed down to us by those who came before




Writer(s): Abdallah Ag Alhousseini

Contributed by Elena O. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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