News / Africa

Mali's Star Musicians Unite Against Islamists

Mali’s Stars Musicians Unite Against Islamistsi
X
January 29, 2013 8:37 PM
A trio of Mali’s biggest performers is on European tour to highlight the peril facing one of the country’s most popular exports.

Trio of country's biggest performers launch European tour to highlight the peril facing one of the Sahara’s most popular exports.

Henry Ridgwell
— Sheltering from the rain in his London hotel room, Malian musician Bassekou Kouyate is a long way from his Bamako home. Casually plucking the strings of his ngoni – a West African ancestor of the banjo – his thoughts turn to his desert homeland.
 
"When you put on a concert now in Mali, al Qaida could plant bombs among lots of people... they could plant bombs there to cause an explosion," he says, explaining why Malian authorities subsequently banned all such events for three months.
 
Determined to offer the world a glimpse of the place beyond daily headlines of atrocity and unrest, though, Kouyate and his band, Ngoni Ba, recently held two performances in Britain as part of a broader European tour. Entitled "Sahara Soul," the shows saw Ngoni Ba perform alongside fellow Malian Touareg band "Tamikrest," from the country's Islamist-held north, and Sidi Toure, who hails from the recently, militarily liberated city of Gao.
 
"We're not here just to sing and play guitar and dance," says Tamikrest Percussionist Aghaly ag Mohamadim. "We are here to make sure people understand the suffering facing the Touareg people back home.”
 
Explaining that the Islamists who are battling to retain control of Mali’s north are not true Muslims, Kouyate articulates a sentiment shared by those with whom he shares the spotlight.
 
“[The Prophet] Muhammad himself invited an orchestra to his house to perform at a festival for his wife," he says. "But the jihadists have stopped all music. They are trying to ban television, to ban telephones, to ban diaries, cigarettes, liquor.”
 
Their collective artistic mission – to show the world that Mali is a diverse and tolerant place – is one in which Gao native and solo musician Sidi Toure maintains a personal stake.

“The instruments belonging to the orchestra of Gao were burned," says Toure, reflecting on recent events that have transformed his hometown. "There are no more instruments. There is no orchestra. There is nothing.”
 
But despite efforts to silence the sounds of Mali – whether by torching musical instruments or threatening concert goers – Kouyate says rebels are faced with a losing battle.

“If someone wants to stop Malian music, that’s like he wants to stop the heart of Mali," he says. "It’s not possible. You can’t stop Malian music. Music has an effect. It’s like a medicine.”
 
“Long live France, long live Francois Hollande,” he says, expressing gratitude for the military intervention and optimism that, after the tour, he will return to perform in the safety of the diverse, culturally vibrant Mali from which the inspiration for his music draws.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Exenon from: NSW. Australia
January 29, 2013 5:59 PM
Again terrorists are being sanitized with the quaint sobriquet of Islamist militants. Is this engendered by fear of fanatics with guns, using dysfunctional failures to become suicide bombers. There is nothing in the Quran that can relate to the tenets of these fanatics. Where in the Book does it say women should be bagged, neither to be seen or heard. Where is it stated that there should be massacres of Muslims? Indeed were they, the terrorists who murder the "faithful" on a daily basis, to read Sura 4 verse 93 wherein it lays out the special treatment held in store for those who kill the"faithful", then they would understand that as Kouyate says "They are not true Muslims".


by: Ray from: NJ
January 29, 2013 5:54 PM
I hope he is careful look what Muslims did to that young woman.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid