Super Ténéré and the music of the desert

Oh Tenere,
Oh jealous desert,
Why can’t you see
You are a treasure
I’ve seen the world
I love you better
Oh Tenere
You are the treasure
Of my soul
Of my soul
Of my soul
You are the treasure of my soul

Yes, the Ténéré is a treasure, but these lyrics have nothing to do with the Super Ténéré. However there are deep connections over many years between Yamaha and the deserts of North Africa. “Ténéré” means “desert” in the Tuareg language, and the original Yamaha 600 Ténéré  was the first to take the name of the desert that was one of the most brutal parts of the Paris/Dakar course for many years.

Later Yamaha raced 750 and 850 twin cylinder Super Ténéré (buy one here!) and won 7 Paris/Dakar events in the 80’s and 90’s. The new Super Ténéré 1200 is not a race bike but is derived from those bikes and is a worthy successor to the the Ténéré title.

Which brings me to the connection with the music – the band is Tinariwen, which means “people of the desert”. I guess Super Ténéré riders collectively could be called “Tinariwen” – people of the Ténéré. Ok, bit of a stretch but I wouldn’t mind being referred to that way. Especially after learning a bit about the Tuareg culture and listening to the infectious rhythms of Tinariwen.

These are the people whose country our bikes are named for…

They will be touring the USA soon. For anyone who’d like to catch them, here are the tour dates.

Get more music from Tinariwen.


Amassakoul ‘n’ Tenere Lyrics

I am a traveler in the lone desert
It’s nothing special
I can stand the wind
I can stand the thirst
And the sun
I know how to go and walk
Until the setting of the sun
In the desert, flat and empty,
where nothing is given
My head is alert, awake
I have climbed up and climbed down
The mountains where I was born
I know in which caves the water is hidden
These worries are my friends
I’m always on familiar
terms with them and that
Gives birth to the stories of my life
You who are organized,
assembled, walking together
Hand in hand, you’re living
A path which is empty of meaning
In truth, you’re all alone

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