Bamako Mali Music
Exhausted by the violent conflict that has recently ravaged their country, musicians from Mali in West Africa have come together to demand peace. They have joined forces for a festival that will travel as a Caravan of Peace from Bamako, the capital of northern Mali, to the city of Gao in the south of the country. The band has been in Mali since 2012, when Islamist extremists seized northern Mali and imposed their hardline interpretation of Sharia law, which prohibits music, among other things. In recent weeks, they have gathered to record a song about peace and unity called "Mali Ko" (meaning Mali).
The band features numerous musicians representing the predominantly nomadic people who inhabit the vast expanses of the Sahara. The Tirawines belong to the Dinka, a traditionally nomadic tribe that stretches across the Sahara and is present in northern Mali, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The chapter Niger deals with the music of the Tamaschek Touareg tribe, while the most famous Wassoulou practitioner, the Dinka Kora player, lives in Mali. The most famous Koras player is from Mali, but it is said that the Koras originally came from the Mandinka Kingdom, which was located near what is now Guinea-Bissau and extended as far as Senegal and Gambia. Although SoulOU's contemporary music is specific to Mali, the roots and style it draws from are to be found in all the right regions. Unlike other West African countries, where Congolese soukous and Western pop seem to be the preferred genres, Mali is steeped in a rich and diverse range of music styles and styles from around the world.
Mali is certainly no stranger to the international music scene, and its exports contribute significantly to world music, but it is also home to some of the world's most talented musicians and artists.
This summer, the Smithsonian Institute's Folklife Festival will feature Malian musicians, and there will be numerous releases of Malian music that reach stores around the globe.
The significance of music in Mali goes back to the Mali Empire of the 13th century, which occupied large parts of Western Sub-Saharan Africa and thus large parts of West Africa as well as parts of Central Africa. Since music is Mali's language and lifeblood, its return to Timbuktu will have significance far beyond simply holding concerts. Artists from all over the world will travel to Mali to promote peace and national unity.
Dance bands are also popular in Mali, with the orchestra of the kindergarten itself leading the development of dance music. Mali Music has just been eclipsed by Electro Bamako, which has produced one of West Africa's most popular dance bands. The two CDs have drawn comparisons to Euro-Pop and African fusion, but they stand alone as two of Mali's best, and they were actually produced about a year before Mali's music.
The songs seem to be divided into two parts, with Nabintou Diakite demonstrating Afel Bocoum's wonderful way on acoustic guitar and the Bambara (Gnawa), which was supposedly brought to Morocco by B Ambara slaves from Mali, impressing many listeners. Songhoy Blues, the music ban in 2012, has been met with much criticism in Mali as well as elsewhere in West Africa and the United States.
In July 2012, Oxfam International, an anti-poverty group, supported a performance in Bamako entitled "Mali Music Unplugged" to raise awareness of the crisis in Mali. Banished to exile from Bamoko, the capital of Mali, he decided to form a group and publish his own music, the "Songhoy Blues," a collection of his songs. There are some big stars in the Malian music scene, including Amadou Mariam and Habib Koite. Despite the ban on music and the unrest, many musicians are working tirelessly in these unrest to bring hope to the people of northern Mali, but also to draw the attention of other countries to Mali, which needs a positive change in its political and economic situation.
Toubalbero recorded in Bamako, one of the best recording studios in Mali, where artists such as Amadou Mariam, Habib Koite and many others from the Malian music scene have recorded their music. Bamako (Mali's capital) is a city of more than 1.5 million inhabitants and a population of about 4 million. We attended seven concerts in five days and spent four consecutive nights in the city centre, the main concert hall of Bamoko, in front of thousands of people.
Many other musicians have joined forces to write a song, "Tous UN pour Mali," calling for international aid for Mali. How can music be the only way to provide security to people who are not Mali's people and who have lived in Mali until now? How do we keep the new generation alive in Mali's music, and how can we help the people of Mali to keep their music alive?