Book Extracts

FINDING THE ONE (extract) – How the kora came to mankind

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 Joseph…

MUSIC, CULTURE & CONFLICT IN MALI (extract) – Tisrawt: The epic tale of a theatre company from northern Mali

BOOK EXTRACT: “Tisrawt is a microcosm of Touareg society,” Melissa explains. “That’s to say, it is a group of people who come from many different clans. Some are pro-MNLA. Some are pro Ansar ud-Dine. Some are pro-Mali. Others say that it’s all nonsense. And the aim is to understand each other, to live together and work together on a common project.”

MUSIC, CULTURE & CONFLICT IN MALI (extract) – Music in the red zone

BOOK EXTRACT: Life in the early 1990s was convivial. There was music. Women felt free to come and go. Some people smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol. The bonds between those young Touareg, their music and their culture seemed strong and unbreakable. No one quite knows why some senior Touareg figures from the northeast, including Iyad Ag Ghali, began to succumb to the message of Pakistani preachers belonging to Tablighi Jama’at.

A SAHARAN ODYSSEY (extract): Guns, cigarettes & Salafi dreams: the roots of AQIM

Mokhtar Belmokhtar

There are facts about Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) that are reassuringly hard and verifiable. The organisation exists. It’s run by Algerian Arabs. It’s made a home from home in the north east of Mali, on Tinariwen’s native earth. It earns millions and millions of euros from kidnapping westerners. No one knows exactly how much. Every now and then it chops the head off one of its victims. All in the service of a dream that has become a nightmare for the people of the Sahara

KEL INEDAN – The Touareg blacksmiths

Touareg artisan in Assaghan Association workshops, Tamanrasset.  (c) Andy Morgan

This is an extract from a pamphlet / article / short book (fate will delete as applicable) that I’m writing about the Touareg blacksmith or artisan. It’s a complex subject and I’m approaching in my usual journalistic and non-academic way. This is bound to ruffle some scholarly feathers…an enjoyable sport in itself. I’m writing this…

MATOUB LOUNES – A lifetime dancing with death

Matoub Lounes

“Silence is death and yet if you speak you die.  If you keep quiet you die.  So then speak and die.” Tahar Djaout “I want to speak and I don’t want to die” Matoub Lounès A grave between an olive and a cherry tree Death finally caught up with him on the lonely bend of…