Sounds from the Sahel: Mali Song of the Week

Songhoy Blues – Al Hassidi Terei

As mentioned in a previous post, new kids on the block Songhoy Blues are back in the UK this week to perform at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Right on queue, their new single – featured as this week’s Song of the Week – was announced on YouTube. The single, with a well constructed video, goes on sale December 8th, ahead of another short UK tour in early 2015.

Back in Mali there is good news – but no cause for complacency. The Ebola response currently under-way in the country is winning strong praise across the world. But its all still hangs in the balance. Comparing Mali to two different countries – Nigeria and Guinea – and how their governments and societies responded to the disease. The Nigerian government, despite having cases in many of its major, densely populated cities, got in control quick, dedicated resources and Nigerians took it up with urgency. Guinea, on the other hand, crumbled. As the New York Times reports:

“Luckily, rumours that the disease did not exist, or that Westerners started it to sell drugs, got little traction in Mali. But in Guinea, such beliefs crippled the response to the epidemic for weeks.”


Lucky indeed. It would be wrong, of course, to attribute the uptake of good hygiene practices and cooperative behaviour of everyday Malians to luck. However, as this article points out, in the Bamako eyes are were turned to Kayes, a town where tragically the 2 year old daughter of the Cisse family died of Ebola. For the community, the situation could have turned even worse  as the case was not reported to health authorities immediately. When the government did learn of the case they acted decisively:

“79 people who had contact with the girl are in quarantine, including 33 health workers. No warning signs were reported as of today. “At present, our country recorded a single case of Ebola on a total of 32 suspected cases,” said Minister of Health.”

Keep up the good work as its not time yet to uncross those fingers.

Songhoy Blues – Al Hassidi Terei

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