Thursday, February 2, 2017

Music Performances From Previous Festivals au Désert (In Mali, West Africa)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides information about the Festival au Désert (Festival in the Desert) in Mali, West Africa and showcases five videos of music performances from previous festivals.

The content of this pancocojams post is published for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the performers who are showcased in these videos. Thanks also to the publishers of the YouTube videos that are embedded in this post.

"The Festival au désert ("Festival in the Desert") is an annual concert in Mali, showcasing traditional Tuareg music as well as music from around the world. The first Festival took place in Tin Essako in 2001 and then it moved to Tessalit in 2002 in the Kidal region (North-East Mali). From 2003 until 2009 the festival was held in Essakane 65km from Timbuktu but because of security issues, from 2010 the festival was held on the outskirts of Timbuktu.[1][2]

The Tuareg band Tinariwen first garnered international attention with their performance at the 2001 Festival.

A French-language documentary entitled Le Festival au Désert was filmed at the 2003 festival. Performers include Tartit, Oumou Sangaré, Lo'Jo, Tinariwen, Robert Plant with Justin Adams, Blackfire, Khaira Arby and her band, Django, and Ali Farka Touré.[3] The DVD contains English subtitles, and an audio CD of the concert, Festival in the Desert, was also released.

The documentary Dambé: The Mali Project tells the story of a cross-cultural musical adventure over 3000 miles by two Irish musicians, that features performances from the Festival au désert.[4]
Shortly after the January 2012 festival, the Northern Mali conflict began, resulting in the postponement of the 2013 festival.[5] In July and August 2013, Tartit, Imharhan, and Mamadou Kelly toured throughout North America as the Festival au Desert - Caravan for Peace.[5][6][7] An audio recording of the 2012 edition Festival au Desert Live from Timbuktu was released in 2013 featuring performances by 18 artists with supplemental digital bonus performances.

The Festival has continued to be postponed due to security concerns in the region."...

From Mali cancels return of famous music festival after al-Qaida attack

Fabled Festival au Désert was coming back to Timbuktu after years in exile but officials blocked it at last minute over security fears

Ruth Maclean in Dakar, Monday 30 January 2017
"The fabled Festival au Désert was returning to Timbuktu, but it was a carefully guarded secret.

Musicians had packed their instruments for the journey to northern Mali. Technical teams had already loaded their sound systems into canoes and taken the river route to the ancient city of learning. None of the festival-going public had yet been told, but the organisers were confident they would turn out, possibly in their thousands.

It was a secret because it was a potential target for extremists in Mali’s lawless north. Since 2012, the world-famous festival, which attracted Malian nomads and music fans from all over the world, has been in exile, driven from its home in the first place by Islamic extremists who banned music, and kept out ever since by insecurity.

But this weekend was to mark its triumphant return, and a huge amount of effort had gone into organising it.

When militants took over northern Mali in 2012, they applied Sharia law. Women were whipped for wearing clothes deemed indecent, and thieves had their hands cut off. But the militants also banned music in a culture where griots, praise-singers and story-tellers are of great importance, and where music is considered the lifeblood of society.

Though the militants were driven out by a French-led force nine months after they took over, peace talks have been halting and have resulted in little success.

Two weeks ago, however, suicide bombers attacked a military camp in the city of Gao, killing at least 77 people and wounding more than 100 others.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb claimed the attack. Three people have been arrested in connection, according to the Malian minister of security.

The organisers of the Festival in the Desert immediately held meetings to decide what to do, but decided to go ahead with it....

However, at the last minute, Malian officials blocked it.

A music producer who has organised concerts all over Mali in spite of security concerns said that the festival in the desert was about far more than just the music – it was about bringing people together, and reconciling past grievances if need be.

“It wasn’t like going to a concert,” Paul Chandler said. “It became a community for that time. A really open community, and a chance to meet people who were really different from you, and find out that they’re not that different after all. The music was just part of it. The community was the main thing.”...
Read more about this festival in the summary statement for some of the videos that are found below.

Example #1: Mali_10 [2007]

Leandre Busquet, Uploaded on Mar 7, 2007

Festival au desert, Essakane 2007

Example #2: Improvised jam at the Festival au Desert, Mali January 2010

Valentina Canavesio, Uploaded on Aug 31, 2010

Members of Terakaft and Taliwen jam in the desert.

Example #3: Experience the Festival in the Desert / Festival au Desert

EssakaneFilm, Uploaded on Dec 18, 2011

Essakane Film is a feature length documentary about the most remote music festival in the world—the Festival au Désert—and the battle to make it happen. Once a year, just outside of Timbuktu in the sand dunes of the Sahara, a music festival that serves to sustain peace and resolve regional conflict rocks the socks off an audience of thousands for three days straight. From Robert Plant to Jimmy Buffett, musicians from around the world have journeyed through the mystical terrain of the Sahara to jam with Malian, Tuareg, and West African musicians at the Festival au Désert.

As a homegrown approach to sustaining peace, democracy, and for developing tourism in Mali, the festival has brought significant cultural awareness and economic development to the local communities in the region and the tourism sector in Mali. But sadly, over the past few years, security warnings issued by Western governments have increased, affecting the attendance at the festival and threatening its viability. But that will not stop the festival organizers, the community, and the musicians who rock the stage from putting on another great show.

For more info on The Last Song Before the War:

For more info on the Festival in the Desert:

Example #4: Mali Blues - Le Monde pour la Paix - For Peace in Mali - Vieux Farka, Bassekou, Khaira Arby

Mali Blues Published on May 13, 2012

Le Monde pour la Paix - by JeConte & The Mali Allstars - The featured track off the coming 2012 release 'Mali Blues for Peace' or 'Mali Blues pour la Paix' written by JeConte & Adama Drame form JeConte & The Mali Allstars featuring guests Vieux Farka Touré, Khaira Arby & Bassekou Kouyate.

"We call on our ancestors to come together for peace... for a better World... for hope in Mali. We ask everyone to hold hands for peace and be one people, one Malian culture uniting for peace in Mali and the World." This is what the words say at the beginning of this powerful track, in Tamashek by Khiara Arby and Songhay by Vieux Farka Toure. Along with the beautiful melodic N'goni work of Bassekou Kouyate we are brought into a better World, a World of home...a World of peace.

JeConte & Adama Drame of the band JeConte & The Mali Allstars worked together on this song, crafting it to its full potential during the eruption of the coup in Mali in March 2012. The footage you see here is behind the scenes footage from the sessions at studio Yeelen in Bamako and also footage from the coup d'etat, Bamako, and the Festival in the Desert outside Timbuktu.

You can learn more about this amazing band and their forthcoming album and tour dates at their website

Mali Blues is gonna get you...

Example #5: Festival in the Desert - Highlighting Tuareg Culture, Tartit & Tinariwen

MaliDesertFest, Published on May 30, 2013

The Festival in the Desert
The music begins at .047 in this video.

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