Mali

SIDI TOURE – Easy to listen to and easy to love…

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March 11, 2014
SIDI TOURE – Easy to listen to and easy to love…

When he was a child, Sidi Toure was told to go and hunt for bats in the Tomb of the Askia. On a good day, he and his harum scarum comrades could bring back ten or more, which made a tidy feast for the family. The monument wasn’t far from his home in the...
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Seydou Cissé, head of the Ganda Izo: “We should have followed the MNLA from the start”

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February 19, 2014

Here’s an amazing news story: http://maliactu.net/mediation-dans-la-crise-malienne-nous-preferons-ouaga-a-alger-dixit-moussa-ag-attaher/ On February 9th last, the MNLA and the Ganda Izo held a joint press conference in Ouagadougou and issued a joint statement announcing a future collaboration between the two movements. The two groups also expressed strong support for Burkina Faso’s mediation in northern Mali and denounced any attempts...
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PHOTO ESSAY: Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita

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January 22, 2014
Catrin Finch (L) & Seckou Keita (R)

12►   In July 2013, I asked Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita if I could steal some of their time for a photo session. Both were pretty busy at that time so I was grateful to them for indulging my whim. It was one of those beautiful and blisteringly hot summer days, and the...
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FINDING THE ONE : ‘If your name is Keita, you’re still royalty’

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January 22, 2014
FINDING THE ONE - Front Cover

It was only after he’d started living in Europe and having kids of his own, that Seckou Keita started to wonder about his father. “I was in that mood,” he says, “I just wanted to find out.” He hadn’t seen him for about thirty years, but he was in touch with an uncle, his...
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Does the Touareg question have an answer?

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January 20, 2014
Touareg boy watching Camel Race, Tin Essako, Jan 2001

A few years ago, on a beautifully calm Saharan evening, I was drinking tea with an old Touareg musician in a garden near Tessalit in the far north east of Mali, a place that has recently been in the news for all the wrong reasons. The musician’s work was gaining popularity throughout Europe and...
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FINDING THE ONE : ‘How the kora came to mankind’

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January 6, 2014
FINDING THE ONE - Front Cover

No one is one hundred precent sure of how or when the kora came into being. Strangely, the first person to ever mention it was a Scotsman by the name of Mungo Park, who wrote about it in his Travels In the Interior Districts of Africa, published in 1799.  Park was commissioned by Sir...
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WOMEX 2013 AWARD SPEECH: What the Festival in the Desert did for one dumbfounded tourist…

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November 16, 2013

Ladies, gentlemen and fellow Womexicans… On the third of January this year, Ansar Eddine, one of the three armed Salafist groups who ruled over the northern two-thirds of Mali and imposed a brutal form of shari’a law on its people, issued what they called their ‘political platform’. In many ways it’s an extraordinary document,...
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Nigel Williamson’s review of ‘Music, Culture & Conflict in Mali’ – SONGLINES, September 2013

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September 3, 2013
Nigel Williamson’s review of ‘Music, Culture & Conflict in Mali’ – SONGLINES, September 2013

It was a small consolation, but one of the few positives to come out of the occupation of the northern two-thirds of Mali by armed jihadist groups in 2012 was the informed analysis of Andy Morgan. At the height of the crisis, Morgan seemed ubiquitous in the western media – on radio, television and...
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The Ouagadougou Accords: Peace in our time?

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June 20, 2013

An accord between the government of Mali and groups representing the Touareg-led rebellion in the north, primarily the MNLA and HCUA, was signed two days ago in Ougadougou at end of several weeks of intense negotiation. Le Monde has a concise and fairly comprehensive report on this possibly historic event. So is this peace...
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NEW BOOK: MUSIC, CULTURE & CONFLICT IN MALI

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May 16, 2013
<i> NEW BOOK: </i> MUSIC, CULTURE & CONFLICT IN MALI

My new book MUSIC, CULTURE & CONFLICT IN MALI takes an in-depth look at the crisis that overtook Mali in January 2012 and lead to a ten-month occupation of the northern two-thirds of the country by armed jihadi groups. The book examines the roots of those tumultuous events and their ef- fect on...
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