tue 18/01/2022

Mali

Prom 54: World Routes

Why are the Malians always punching way above their weight in music? There may be some historical reasons. The French always were more welcoming to the culture of their empire than the Brits (and more used to foreign-language music), while Paris...

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theartsdesk in Zanzibar: The Nightingale Still Sings

A crowd of men and younger women in full burkahs gathers, bewildered by the sight: an African woman, in West African “Mumu” (khaftan) and a covered head, playing Ghazals (Islamic calls to prayer). Accompanied by an acoustic guitar, a clear voice,...

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theartsdesk in Mali: Creation, Conservation and Restoration

Timbuktu, the legendary "End of the World", does actually exist, and as everyone now knows, it's in Mali. It has just been thrust into the world’s focus after its recent liberation from the Al Qaeda-linked extremists who have occupied the north of...

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Interview: Bassekou Kouyaté, Mali maestro

A couple of weeks ago on BBC’s Question Time one of the pundits airily commented that until recently no-one in the audience would have heard of Bamako, the capital of Mali. That wouldn’t be the case were there any world music fans there – for them,...

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Salif Keita, Royal Festival Hall

The only time the great Malian singer spoke at any length to last night’s audience was when he said, “I don’t know my birthday. I don’t know the day or the year. So any day can be my birthday. So can you please stand up and dance for my birthday.”...

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Sahara Soul, Barbican Hall

Bassekou Kouyaté’s ngoni looks like a real bugger to play. Its hollow body is the size and shape of a child’s cricket bat and its rounded fretless neck is thinner than that of a broomstick. It’s a mystery how anyone gets a note out of this ancestor...

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The Arts Desk Radio Show 7

The seventh radio show from theartsdesk features a wealth of eclectic music, from grime to Bach, while Joe Muggs and Peter Culshaw discuss everything from French café culture of the Fifties to sub-Saharan politics in the Sudan and northern Mali....

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2011: Ladies With Ukuleles and Blockbusters With Bite

2011 was an excellent year for highly original music from female musicians, two of whom brandished ukuleles yet found quite different ways of using them.New England’s Merrel Garbus (otherwise known as Tune-Yards) put her foot down on the effects...

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Toumani Diabaté, St George's Bristol

Toumani Diabaté is the world’s greatest and best-known kora player. Plugged in deep to a musical tradition that goes back over seven centuries, this griot or jali takes his custodial role very seriously, but he is also an adventurer who has...

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Tinariwen, Koko

An aura of mystique surrounds Tinariwen. The members of this group’s shifting line-up are from the Tuareg people, nomadic Berbers of the North African desert regions, and several have taken part in armed Tuareg rebellions in the past. This air of...

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Interview: Tinariwen, Poets in New York

All was quiet in room 509 when I turned up with my bottle of Jura whisky. Tinariwen’s sound engineer, Jaja, was watching a vampire movie on TV. Elaga, their rhythm guitarist, was sitting at a small, darkly varnished table eating pasta from a...

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CD: Fatoumata Diawara - Fatou

Fatoumata Diawara: a new Malian star is born

Malian singer-songwriter Fatoumata Diawara produces guitar riffs that are like quiet musical mantras from which songs seem to blossom like exquisite orchids. Or at least that’s the effect achieved by a combination of the songs themselves and the...

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