Leave it to five guys from North Africa to make a guy living in Utah with the deep-fried blues of the American South excited.
No this isn't a geography quiz, but a rather favorable review of a singular musical experience Wednesday night at Salt Lake City's State Room featuring Tinariwen.
Tinariwen, which in their native language is roughly translated to "The Desert Boys," effortlessly fuse their bluesy, raw guitar licks - which they derived independently of American influences - over native rhythms to the point where it sounds like Lightning Hopkins sitting in with an inspired drum circle.
One can do worse.
Throw in the band's steadily entrancing chants in their native Taureg language and the resulting stew seemingly wowed a dancing, festive crowd of about 250, which kind of looked like the U's anthropology department on parade.
Regardless of how or why they came, TInariwen made sure everyone had a blast during their 80-minute set, because even though the band's sound is rooted in refugee camps and North African deserts, it sounds a lot like a summer backyard summer party.
And folks tend to like that no matter where they're from.