Tag Archives: future

Sounds from the Sahel: Mali Song of the Week

Vieux Farka Toure – Future

This week we serve up another song from Vieux Farka Toure’s 2013 album ‘Mon Pays’. This time its the turn of the song ‘Future’ – one of many exceptionally good songs to come from that release. In this fun and fast paced song, Vieux plays alongside young kora prodigy Sidiki Diabate – someone who personally embodies the Malian “future”. Sidiki is the son of Toumani Diabate, the 71st member of a history-long tradition of passing down musical and artistic talent through generations. 700 years of history lies behind Sidiki, but his youth and success combined with the precarious situation in Mali means that his life itself is a delicate link, weighed with massive responsibility to continue this remarkable legacy.

Whether Sidiki senses such responsibility is hard to gauge; his music resonates such calm and grace, it is hard to imagine anyone with the ability to produce such beauty could be anything but completely at-ease with themselves and the world they have around them.

Vieux Farka Toure – Future

Sounds from the Sahel: Mali Song of the Week

Mylmo – Propheciline 

“I thought I knew something about Malian music. Toumani Diabate, Rokia Traore, Oumou Sangare, Salif Keita, Vieux Farka Toure, Tinariwen. They’re the heroes, right? They’re the legends, the pop icons, the road blockers. I know there are rappers in Mali, just as I know there are rappers all over Africa. But I never knew that the rappers had taken over.” – Andy Morgan

Monday just passed (22nd of September 2014) was Mali’s Independence Day. It’s 54th to be precise, and the country was congratulated from all over the world on another year of self-rule and a day of national pride. Mali is perhaps one of the few countries in the world that would receive such messages of support from President’s of both the USA and Iran, the former highlighting the Malian government’s continued commitment to democratic rule and reconciliation, the latter using the day to emphasise its on-going goal of improving relations with the country and continent.

From a British perspective Malian independence means a whole lot for the residents of Hay-on-Wye in Powys, just on the Welsh-side of the border. Hay-on-Wye is twinned with Timbuktu and – accordingly – marks Malian independence with fundraising and celebrations. This year it took the form of a week-long multi-cultural affair with displays, cinema, food and music events all aimed at raising funds to help tackle some of it’s twin-town’s most pressing urban problems. In similar festival spirit seen during the Olympic games in London and the arrival of the Tour de France in Yorkshire, displays will line the windows of the town and later this week Mark Saade, Malian Consul, will judge the entries. Good luck, and good fun to everyone there.

Of course, the most important place on Mali Independence Day is Mali itself. This year passes with barely a hint of the optimism or relief from last year‘s celebrations – many people in Mali are now of the opinion that the government has failed to act, is not delivering on its promises and has slipped into the corruptive problems of the past. Regionally, the threat of Ebola looms large, bringing further bad news to an already challenging economic and agricultural recovery.  This does not mean that Malian’s are not down-trodden. Community action appears to be bubbling and Malian’s from many walks of life are motivated to step in, in their government’s absence, to make the changes they wish to see.

This week’s song of the week is for Mali’s youth. The passage at the top of the page is to remind us of all the love, support and admiration we provide for Malian’s and their country, at the end of the day, it is their country and we must celebrate the way they do. Andy Morgan declares that Malian rap music has “taken over” Mali’s music scene. Sequentially, this must mean they have also captured the most popular vehicle for political discourse in the country.

Mali’s rap may not be its most popular musical export to the Western world. However, if you want to know what’s going on in the hearts of everyday Malians – if you want to hear what its people are saying – then Mali’s rap music is definitely the place to begin listening.

Mylmo – Propheciline

Sounds from the Sahel: Mali Track of the Week

Vieux Farka Touré – Ay Bakoy

Now, this week is a big one. The track is “Ay Bakoy” by rising super-star Vieux Farka Touré. Vieux has inevitably spent most of his career being spoken to in reference to his father, the late and great, Ali Farka Touré. Vieux’s latest album “Mon Pays” that was released in May could potentially change this. The emotional weight and maturity that rings through the album shows that Vieux is even more than the fantastically fun, energetic, electric guitar wielding showman many of us have come to admire. Upon release a statement on his own website describes how the album “is a homage to beautiful Mali and her people”. In his own words:

“For me it is a statement for the world that this land is for the sons and daughters of Mali, not for Al Qaeda or any militants. This land is for peace and beauty, rich culture and tolerance. This is our heritage, what we must always fight to protect in any way that we can. For me, that means making music that reminds the world of who we are.”

Fresh from his musical adventures with Israeli pianist and vocalist Idan Raichel the album has depth, precision and effortless sophistication to show that Vieux, like Ali before him, has the potential to use his talents to capture the imagination of his country and the world.

The album is also overtly political. For example the title of the two tracks made in collaboration with fellow Malian artist Sidiki Diabate are entitled “Future” and “Peace”. The track “Ay Bakoy” itself feels particularly reflective especially as a new political era in Mali struggles into existence following the worst violence for a generation. Vieux confesses that the album’s direction was already underway before the crisis began to unfold in January 2012. It appears that Vieux has embraced the added significance thrust upon the album and has delivered on it beautifully.

Vieux Farka Toure  – Ay Bakoy

Vieux Farka Touré is touring at present, with some dates in Europe including one date in London at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on September 24th.

 

May events on Mali

Two events coming up in May on Mali.

Trafficking Networks and Threats to Security in West Africa: the case of Mali

LSE: New Theatre, East Building

8th of May 2013 – 6.30-8pm

An examination of the changing strategic security environment in West Africa and the effectiveness of the response initiated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with the support of the international community.

 

Mali in Transition: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

SOAS: Russell Square: College Buildings, Room G2

29th of May 2013 9am – 30th of May 2013 5pm

rganised by the Centre of African Studies and SOAS, University of London, with the support of the MBI Al Jaber Foundation, ASA-UK and Goldsmiths’ College, this conference aims to provide an interdisciplinary and research-based platform to Africanists from Europe, Africa and the USA, to initiate a debate about the causes of the present political and humanitarian crisis in Mali, but also its impact on the country’s social and cultural diversity.

The four panels will focus on the following themes:
  • Interdisciplinary perspectives on the crisis
  • Emergency crisis and impact of humanitarian action
  • Heritage and conservation
  • Historical perspectives and future scenarios

The conference will also provide an opportunity to present the work of Mohamed Alher Ag Almahdi, a Malian Tuareg artisan who trained in restoring ancient manuscripts at the British Library and subsequently helped with the restoration of ancient manuscripts in Timbuktu.