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We dedicated Knit to This scouts don’t get press kits or download links for the albums we mention in this column. No, we spend almost all of our valuable time lollygagging around, just pressing the NEXT button on our music apps until something stops us in our tracks and then we excitedly race to tell you about This Thing We Stumbled Across (usually years and years late, after the last person on earth already knows about it). We do and do and do for you kids … and just look at the thanks we get!

Skimpiness on the press kit side of things is one reason it’s hard to talk to you in any sort of learned fashion about Tinariwen, the loose collective of Tuareg musicians who’ve taken up residence in my brain for the past few weeks. Formed in Malian refugee camps in Algeria, the group’s lineup has changed many many times, but they’ve been around a long loonnnng time (since the late 70s) and count Bono, Robert Plant and Wilco among their fervent fans. And because I don’t want to get into too much fact-checking trouble—this isn’t The New Yorker!—I’ll just stop right there with the whats and whys (you can Google as well as I can) and just get to the omigods.

Their new record Amatssou is so good. Tinariwen has six members at the moment: founders Ibrahim Ag Alhabib and Alhassane Ag Touhami, along with Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni, Eyadou Ag Leche, Said Ag Ayad and Elaga Ag Hamid, and do be careful to not let their names get overwhelmed by those of the starrier western collaborators on this record (Daniel Lanois is around with woo-woo twing-twangy atmospheric guitar, along with bluegrass banjoista Wes Corbett and multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplin)—the power of the album comes directly from Tinariwen’s core group. Nothing else sounds quite like this and it doesn’t sound like anything else, no matter how many familiar famous starry-eyed western musicians drop in for a song or two.

It’s a good solid hour of hypnotic rhythm and moody melody and altogether quite something.

Tinariwen gets classified frequently as “desert blues,” which is both vague and completely accurate. While their desert is the Sahara, the whole record has a desolate, windswept vibe that fits right in with any desert you might have handy. Take it with you on your next outdoor adventure and listen to it around the campfire—whether you’re in the Sahara, the Mojave or just your dusty old summertime backyard.

A Giveaway!

The prize? Our MDK Calendar Tea Towel 2023—one each to three winners!

It’s Hannah Jones’s fun take on one of the happiest kinds of knitting: the humble dishcloth.

How to enter?

Two steps:

Step 1: Sign up for MDK emails, right here. External Link. Opens in new window.. External Link. Opens in new window.. If you’re already signed up, you’re all set. We have a new option for texting, so when you sign up for those, you’ll get a coupon code good for 10% off your next MDK order.

Step 2: Which band or Knit to This entertainment is giving you the “omigods” right now?

Deadline for entries: Sunday, June 25, 11:59 PM Central time. We’ll draw random winners from the entries. Winners will be notified by email.

About The Author

DG Strong took up knitting in 2014. He lives in Nashville with his sister, her rat terrier and a hound dog named Opal. He has a blog of drawings and faintly ridiculous rambling called The Psychopedia—there are worse ways to spend your afternoon.


  • Listening to Isabel Allende’s The Wind Knows My Name, her most recent novel!!!

    • Listening to books is more my thing. The latest: Radium Girls by Kate Moore. Sounds like a great band name, yes?

      • I loved Radium Girls as well. And yes it is a great band name! I saw your comment and said, “Wait! I didn’t write that but I could have,” turns out it is another Mary Alice!

    • Just bought this! She is my favorite author. Can’t wait to start reading it!!

  • Eagles greatest hits

    • My fave record as a young girl!

  • It’s amazing that something so uplifting as Tinariwen can arise out of the what must be the desolation of a long term residency in a refugee camp. And it makes me wonder what other creativity has been forged out of such a situation. Thanks for this DG. I’ve never heard of this group before (I live under a rock and subsist on PBS nostalgic fundraising concerts) but glad to have my world expanded every once in a while.

  • My latest indulgence is to pull up a selection of show tunes on YouTube and knit while I belt my heart out.

    • I have been listening to all books Lois McMasters Bujold added to her Vorkosigan series after I quit reading them.

      • My favorite all-time author

  • Remember Jethro Tull? Every time “Reasons for Waiting” comes up on my playlist, I stop and breathe a little more deeply.

    • Agree! Ian Anderson, greatest flautist of all time!

    • Oooh, Jethro Tull! So good!
      I really don’t listen to much music anymore, but those desert blues might change my mind.

  • The new Sigur Ros.

    • Yaaaasssss!

  • Molly Tuttle…just pick one song, they’re all fantastic! I’ve also got a hankering to listen to some Jethro Tull now that I’ve been reminded by the previous post.

  • ALWAYS the Eagles!!

    • Always Bob Dylan. I was in the audience at the Newport Folk Festival the night he went electric. Many fans vehemently objected but I have loved every phase of his long career!

      • OMG…Elizabeth…that is an iconic moment. I have seen the films and a BFF has told me her experience- dressed in her A-line dress, hat, and gloves….

  • Linda Ronstadt in every genre.

    • Love all of her music!

  • I’ve been listening to Clara Parkes audio books of late; “Knitlandia” and “A Stash of Ones Own.” “The Yarn Whisperer” is next up!

  • I read TWICE “The Marriage Portrait” by Maggie O’Farrell and just finished knitting to it on audio. The novel was a Women’s Prize for Fiction Finalist. One of my best listens ever. Another is Tom Hanks reading “The Dutch House”.

    • I love to listen audio books ”The Island of Sea Woman” was truly remarkable and I adore the velvety voice of Rolando Villazón, especially the album ¡México!

  • I like to listen to Phil Coulter.

    • Actually, I listen to silence while knitting. It’s contemplative. 🙂

  • Yay, DG! I’ve been a fan of Tinariwen for about ten years now, and they have toured Chapel Hill! So I’ve been able to hear them in person, so cool. They are not everyone’s cuppa, I do know that, but sometimes they’re better than all the massage mood music, because, electric guitars. And serious desert vibes. I think I’ve seen/heard a couple of their members popping up in Playing For Change videos, too. Surprised Ry Cooder hasn’t dropped in on them.
    The other band I’d recommend is Over The Rhine, out of Cincinnati. Check out early albums like Good Dog, Bad Dog, Films For Radio & Ohio. The Trumpet Child for fun and sassy. Karin Bergquist gets very moody, too, on other albums, with husband Linford Detweiler on fellow songwriting and arrangements.
    Thanks so much for making my morning. We’ll fire up Tinariwen today while the heat rises to over 90…

  • Actually, it was reading the two Field Guides that just arrived. 22 and 24.

  • I have been going down memory lane on Spotify lately. Listening to Jackson Browne and Marshall Tucker and classic Eagles tunes. Really takes me back!!

    • I’m always ready for an opera… especially on spring weather days with windows open and some birdsong in the background.

  • My new favorite thing right now is the band Wet Leg. They’re an alternative rock band from the Isle of Wight. The music is risqué and insanely catchy. It’s my Summer soundtrack.

    • I pulled a couple of Bonnie Raitt CDs from my DH’s voluminous collection. Really enjoying her sound.

      • I love her version of Make me an Angel!

  • A Pilgrimage to Eternity by Timothy Egan on Audiobook. Part travel documentary, part history lesson and a whole bunch of questions, the book is the first person narrative of the authors mostly-walking trip from Canterbury to Rome. As he struggles with his personal faith, he recounts the history of the Christian church, the stories of the various saints enshrined in cathedrals along the way and gives voice to the many questions and concerns associated with the administration of a humble carpenters directives. He’s on a quest to meet Pope Francis. Don’t know if he makes it yet; I’ve got 2 hours to go so it’s a cliffhanger.

  • Been in a Joni Mitchell kinda mood

  • Anticipation of AI fueled new Beatles release

  • Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill

  • Simon and Garfunkel

  • Darlingside is a fantastic group I discovered a few years ago at Newport Folk Festival. Beautiful harmonious voices and melodies blew me away!

  • I loved listening to the audiobook of Lessons in Chemistry! And I want to say thanks to DG and to others who comment for all the great ideas for Things to Knit To!!

    • I agree with knitting to audiobooks, and I loved Lessons in Chemistry!

  • John Fahey, Nina Simone and Jovanotti have been rotating in my playlist lately but I really like this DJ–So thanks!

  • Any musical videos on Dust to Digital on Instagram. What an amazing collection of music by musicians worldwide, I just love it.

  • I’ve been entertaining my granddaughter, which has given me a chance to revisit some of my kids’ favorite tunes. Can’t beat Peter, Paul and Mary for great harmonies. Or the Chenille Sisters for pure silliness with great harmony.

    • Yes, Chenille Sisters! I was a bit of a groupie, back in the day in Ann Arbor. A few days ago, I was singing “I am a can of tuna”.

  • Looping on Tina Turner right now. ❤️

  • Jackson Browne (), the Eagles, the Beatles, the Stones, Delbert McClinton! Am I showing my age? Don’t care.

  • I know about Tinariwen and love the similarity with my surname, although it is Italian and not Algerian. I also like Noura Mint Seymali a group from Mauritania with my son, a Tinari, as their drummer and manager.

  • Talk about OLD! Leonard Cohen’s 1980 album Various Positions! Fantastic!

  • Band: black midi
    Other entertainment: I just watched Renfield and laughed straight through it. It’s really gory but Nic Cage and Awkwafina are great!

  • I’m years late to this party, but I discovered Rubblebucket a few weeks ago and ever since then “You Came Out of a Lady” has been playing on a loop inside my brain.

  • Moonlight Bloom – a psychedelic rock band from Denver, CO is getting a lot of play in my house. New album release Lazarus.

  • Tracy Chapman

  • The song Shut up and Dance With Me by Walk the Moon. ‘Nuff said.

  • My house is full of musical instruments and my family members are all musicians, so when I’m not playing with fiber strings and listening to the music inside my own head, I’m playing (or tuning) the nylon, gut, and steel strings that surround me. ANY music will stop me in my tracks, at least for a little bit, so …

  • Also a shout out to our favorite local band, from Montauk, its The Nancy Atlas Project!

    • I’m a seventy’s and 80s rock fan. Bob Seger, Jackson Brown Jethro Tull, Peter Frampton . I will always have on my playlists along with too many others to list!

  • I’ve had the Pentatonix on steady replay lately. Love their voices & music.

  • Anything (recent or long ago) by Angelique Kidjo!

  • Wynona Judd singing “That Was Yesterday” for all who have had a cheating husband.

  • The PBS series Craft in America. You can stream it on their app or I find it fascinating and it spurs my creativity.

    • Today listening to Rita Wilson

  • Nice! Thanks for featuring them on “Knit to This.”

  • Thanks for this DG! Down the rabbit hole I go ❤️

  • I really enjoyed the series Astrid and I’m always thrilled to hear new musical talent—this week, Tinariwen.

  • Andy Kershaw a veteran UK broadcaster famously said that many bands can rock but Tinariwen are the only ones to truly Roll!

  • Eric Clapton, always, all the way!

  • Cesaria. A lovely, earthy and haunting vocalist from Cape Verde.

  • Orville Peck

  • Donna the Buffalo, always and forever my happyplace band. Herd of em?

  • Bonnie Raitt

  • Ryuichi Sakamoto — I first heard of him in a Yelp review for a mid-town ramen restaurant. This performance by Derek Trucks with the Dave Matthews Band is definitely OMG. I keep going back to it.

  • Loving Kaarija, the Finnish rapper 🙂

  • Rewatching Ted Lasso- just need to see some good in the world

  • Just finished The Diplomat on Netflix, waiting for Endeavour

  • I’m enjoying “David Holt’s State of Music” and Rhiannon Giddens’ “My Music”, both on They’re 30-minute episodes; wish they were longer!

  • Sierra Ferrell, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, and Logan Halstead

  • I’m loving Praful. Simple musicality.

  • The Beatles!

  • I knitted a dishcloth that looks just like the January calendar dishcloth. It wasn’t intentional; I ran out of one color and just went with it rather than unraveling and planning out the pattern. Imagine my delight when I saw one featured on the calendar! 🙂

  • Oh, and I forgot to mention: Daisy Jones and the Six

  • Every time I listen to Santa Teresita I say OMG. Why aren’t these guys more well known. Give ‘em a listen.

  • Busted…listening to an audio book Power of the Dog. Drug cartels etc

  • Just put Kings of Leon in the cd player (remember those) in the truck yesterday.

  • Abba always put me in the mood to knit when I can’t or do any kind of work.

  • Hawaiian slack key guitar and ukulele.

  • Wonderful music discovery! Thanks for sharing!

  • Lately I’ve been knitting as we re-stream Ted Lasso in its entirety. My knitting listening has also been the audiobook Fresh Water for Flowers by Valerie Perrin

  • Despite my age, I like a bit of techno. Hausch, by andhim is the pop-iest, bouncy song to do anything by

  • I’ll listen to Stephan Garpelli any day for any reason

  • Loveto knit to Monty Alexander’s Wareika Hill Rastamonk Vibrations. He plays Thelonius Monk tunes with a Jamaican flavor.

  • Always Def Leppard. Feel free to laugh. I’m used to it!

    • Def Leppard forever and always. Hysteria was the soundtrack of my youth.

  • These days I am enjoying travel and textile vlogs, great for knitting companionship. Since I am not likely to be able to do more big trips, this is my vicarious travel.Some examples: Itchy Boots, Fruitty Knitting, Eamon and Bec, Cabin Boy Knits. The possibilities are endless!

  • I have a playlist that I keep tweaking. It starts with “Jericho” by Iniko; “White Iverson,” Post Malone; “Damages,” Tems; “Coaster,” Khalid; and “love nwantiti” by CKay.

  • Valerie June, Rhett Miller, Jason Isbell, Allison Russell. Allison Russell’s Tiny Desk Concert is sheer transcendent joy built out of incredible adversity.

  • Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan & John Hartford.

  • Kronos Quartet’s Pieces of Africa.

  • A Bach Brandenberg Concerto or a Chopin Nocturne

  • I clicked the link to Tidjit and right now I am knitting to that! Thanks for the tip on this one.

  • Without a doubt: 30 year old Bonnie Raitt music

  • Sesame Street songs are big on my playlist right now.

  • Chris Klafford. He has the most amazing voice and can sing just about any genre of music he has a mind to. His version of John Lennon’s “Imagine” brought tears to my eyes. He also does his own music not just covers. His song “Something Like Me” is one everyone should hear. You should check out his Kitchen Sessions on YouTube.

  • OMG!?!? This! Tinawiren. This is fantastic. Thanks so much DG Strong.

  • Currently I’m obsessed with CHVRCHES—and tea towels.

  • Listening to The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese.

  • I tend to explore backwards to classic country and classic rock. The most recent find was over a decade ago but was so memorable… Remy Zero! Played the CD over and over. Well later I realized I heard U2 in them… no wonder my fondness.

  • Love, love, love this introduction to desert blues! Listening with delight to Dinners with Ruth by Nina Totenberg. The biography has wonderful recollections, narrated by Nina herself, on friendships with RBG, Cokie Roberts, and Linda Wertheimer, to name a few!

  • So interesting! So close to Mongolian and Bhutani music too!!

  • I have all-things Rhiannon Giddens on repeat!

  • I’m sorry but I’m not really into the “Knit to This” because I am usually knitting something requiring my full attention like something very patterned or brioche.

  • I have been on a Puscifer kick and had the fun of knitting at one of their concerts a couple of years ago.

  • Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. They bring back memories. I heard them together in spring 1976 when the Rolling Thunder tour played tiny Tully Gymnasium in Tallahassee, Florida.

  • Beginning on Audible to listen to Constantine’s Sword.

  • I have been rewatching Slow Horses on Apple getting ready for the new season

  • Current favorites: “Cruel” by FRANKIIE, “Nighwalking” by TEMPERS, and Harsh Symmetry (for a danceable 80s darkwave vibe when I’m washing dishes).

  • Thank you! I haven’t been knitting to them, but I’ve been dancing my head off!

  • Allison Russell. So good.

  • I have been working through the Amanda M. Lee series

  • Pretty much anything that Apple music puts up when I ask for Mark Knoffler (and friends)

  • anything by Lyle Lovett always gives me the “omigods”!

  • Yes, yes, yes. So many favorites have been mentioned. A different duet I like is Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. They have made 2 albums together. His voice has mellowed with age and provides a lovely counterbalance to her breathy and haunting voice.

  • I’ve recently rediscovered Manhattan Transfer and am enjoying listening to them, especially Chanson d’Amour! I guess this shows my age…oh, well.

  • Eva Cassidy. ❤

  • Joji’s story of a knitter – so honest and authentic.

  • I mostly listen to Taylor Swift

  • I’m listening to Nora Roberts’ newest book Identity. It’s definitely a Nora Roberts romantic whodunit for sure.

  • Lessons in Chemistry audio book!

  • A Stash of Ones Own—a Christmas gift last year, I finally broke it out this month as I needed a good pool read! So many good stories that help me rationalize my own stash…not that I need to, but good to know I’m in good company!

  • On Being – Krista Tippet interview. Great to listen to while knitting.

  • Ohhh I love this tea towel! I love to knit to Lana del Ray.

  • Rewatching all seasons of Ted Lasso and discovering cool music in each episode. Khala My Friend, a song from Amanaz is the last one I had to go find. So good.

  • Serena Ryder!

  • Knitting through Somebody Somewhere and really enjoying it!

  • Listening to A Song of Comfortable Chairs – latest in Number One Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith.

  • I’ve been watching The Last Thing He Told Me and it is almost too exciting for knitting to but garter stitch works well.

  • Still obsessed with Hamilton soundtrack.

  • Rose Betts on instagram and all the renditions of Irish Eyes. I have been listening to it with my daughters and singing along (badly) as we learn the words and try to make our American English embouchures move quickly enough for the lilting lyrics.

  • Lyle Lovett and His Large Band — love their music!

  • Let week I started listening to Clive Cusler’s, “Medusa.” It’s about people trapped in an underwater laboratory. And then the news about the lost Titanic explorer – – – OMG!

  • Endeavour Season 9 has begun. Yay!

  • ABBA. It’s feel good music and I know most of the words:-)

  • I’m an oldies but goodies gal. I still like The Band

  • I’ve been on an Ed Sheeran kick….

  • Listening to The Chemist and podcasts while knitting is my jam

  • Nickel Creek’s Live From The Fox Theatre album, and I’m bingeing on NPR’s Throughlines podcasts.

  • Listening to “Hamnet” by Maggie O’Farrell

  • I usually just have the tv on in the background.

  • I am always open to music to knit to. The other day I tried to get our voice activated audio device to play the Brandenburg concertos. After one dazzling movement, the music suddenly turned into a happy, rollicking Latin beat. Kept me going despite my auditory confusion!

  • This is so cool, so hypnotic and beautiful and mysterious. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • The Saturday lineup on NPR radio – I listen on WNYC-FM in New York. Wait, Wait Don’t Tell me – Radio Lab – This American Life – Moth Radio Hour to name a few

  • My sister introducted me to Cody Fry. He’s in Nashville and he’s AMAZING!

  • Always Alison Krause. I forget how good she is.

  • The Beatles, always the Beatles. I’d say David Bowie, but I can’t dance and knit at the same time!

  • Thanks for posting the video clip and music of Tinariwen; they are exceptional!

  • Outlander series

  • The Beatles, I never get tired of their music…

  • Anything by Imagine Dragons or Eminem really get me in the knitting groove.

  • Willie Nelson my fave. With his extensive catalog, there’s something for every situation

  • I am going to start listening to your recommendations. Will start with todays band. Tinariwen!

  • Tinariwen new to me. Mighty fine. I like Lady Smith Black Mambazo.

  • Just finished Book Woman of Troublesome Creek…perfect to knit to this touching story!

  • I’m listening to an audiobook Buried for Pleasure by Crispin. So good. We’re also listening to some Bob Dylan.

  • Slightly Foxed podcast. Bookish delight!

  • For music, it’s Al Di Meola. Lately I’ve been listening to the podcast Wiser Than Me with Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

  • Finished Barbara Kingsolver’s Demon Copperhead and am closing in on the end of a Flickerl shawl with ALL my yarn scraps.

  • Bird talk and silence right now

  • Rarely music currently but the 32 hours of audio book that is Jonathon Strange and Mr Norrell

  • I’ve been listening to Radio Margaritaville on my Sirius XM app. I am a latecomer to Jimmy Buffett, but his words speak to me while I knit.

  • I cannot really believe just how long ago it has been since I was introduced to Dead Can Dance but it still gets my mind to a very different place. Lisa Girard is a genius.

  • George Michael,

  • Far from Saints (for those that like Stereophonics but think they would sound better rounded out with more vocal harmony- and you’d be right).

  • The wind and the birds. Love the quiet.

  • Pulled out an oldie but goodie — Mezzanine, by Massive Attack. Good pacing.

  • Foo Fighters!

  • God is an Astronaut is great listening. They’re an instrumental band (helps me to focus on yarn and not singing lyrics) with a that style employs elements of electronic music, krautrock, and space rock, reminiscent of Tangerine Dream.

  • Ok, I uncharacteristically loved this! I am in tons of pain right now in my left shoulder right now and have been for 2 weeks. This vibrating music put me into a trance-like state and I changed my focus from pain to this deep hypnotic music. Thank u, dear DG.❤️

  • Paul Simon’s latest album
    Seven Psalms

    • Oops. Ann Patchett

  • Knitting vlogs are giving me my summer “omigods.” My new fav is the Junction Fiber Mill podcast. Love those gals in VT!

  • I’m knitting while introducing my husband to Ann Padgett Audiobooks or watching Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

  • Standup comedy by Sarah Milligan… such a hoot!

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