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Mali’s blues

November 14, 2012

will someone care? Can this terror ever be stopped?

The musicians of  Mali are silenced. Music is banned by decree by the Islamic extremists who rule the Northern part of Mali since april 2012. The reign of the Al-Qaeda-linked group Ansar ud-Din causes not only a humanitarian crisis in the region, but also a cultural crisis that is spreading like wildfire.

see also Le Mystère Jazz de Tombouctou  

They plunder recording studios, destroy the archives of radiostations and trample instruments. Anyone who sings something else than the sacred koran verses is not sure of his life. The recent cultural holocaust in Northern Mali can be compared to that of the Nazis against the Jews in pre-war Germany.

Habib Koité – Batoumambé

Mali may be one of the poorest countries in Africa but it surely has one of the richest musical traditions of the continent. The so called griots travel around the country since the middle ages as the storytellers of the Sahel. Their songs are like history books, indispensable in a largely illiterate society. New popular singers in the last decades have exported Malinese music as the most famous product of the country.

Fatoumata Diawara – Kelé (live at Amsterdam World)

Fatoumata Diawara, Ali Farka Touré, the desert blues of Touareg-band Tinariwen have become regular features at international festivals like North Sea Jazz and Lowlands here in Holland. In the West, Malinese music is often compared to American blues. That is definitely true but the concerns of Mali are centuries older than those of Northern America . Malinese music is a paean on ‘ the source of hope in the desert ‘ and it should be kept alive, not destroyed.

Tinariwen from Live 8 Eden Africa Calling

parts of this text from an article by Leendert van der Valk -‘Mali’s Blues zwijgt’- NRC Handelsblad -Monday November 12th 2012

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