January 19, 2008

Soul and solace - a festival for the mind!

Take note, US performers^.. one can have good ...no...great music too, in addition to a good dance routine!

That's the very beautiful voiced Mali singer, Rokia Traore. Unlike Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate, she is not from a griot but is from the Bamana ethnic group - traditionally not allowed to perform as musicians. Thank god people like her and Salif Keita (also of royal heritage, traced back to the founder of the Mali Empire, Sundiata Keita) have been able to fight these old customs and bring their beautiful voices to the world.

^ Some of them - don't need to name names, do I? - can hardly be called performers. Drugged-out tramps maybe but calling them musicians would be an insult of the musicians of the world! If music is not the priority but shaking you hips and flaunting your body is ...(nothing wrong with latter..but that's not a music video, its called soft-porn at best; and depending on which performer it is - ugliness.) ... then sorry.. that does not qualify as music in my mind. This here....is music!

Thanks to youtube and the internet revolution, here I am...listening to these beautiful voices from around the globe this Saturday morning. Here's more. Beautiful music. Amazing voice.

I had heard Rokia before but another Mali diva that I read about and heard just now is Oumou Sangare. You can listen to her songs through World Circuit but here are a few videos through youtube.

First up - a
live performance of Oumou Sangare featuring Ali Farka Toure at the Festival in the Desert in 2003.*

And there is more.... including the first video below where she sings with the very talented Alicia Keyes (one really good US singer, who has a good voice AND has made it big in the US.)

Some of my earlier posts about music from West Africa, in particular Mali: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5..

Some day before I die I hope to be at the Festival in the desert in Mali! Next time someone says go to Timbaktu, I'll gladly take them up on it ;) (The festival is held in Essakane, approximately 65 kilometers north of the city of Timbuktu.)

In trying to find these links, google came up with links to some travel agents offering packages to the festival. Unbelievable how expensive it is! I guess with popularity comes price!

The 2008 festival just got over (Jan 10-12) but
thanks to the Guardian newspaper, some free mp3s from the 2008 event.
Bassekou Kouyate, the ngoni wizard of Mali
Khaira Arby performs
Vieux Farka Touré performs
Unknown Tuaregs singing around the campfire

Also, y
ou can see pictures & some videos of the 2007 edition of this great festival.

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