The crisis in Mali, Tuareg music and rebellion

For some people, when you say “Timbuktu”, it is like the end of the world, but that is not true. I am from Timbuktu, and I can tell you we are right at the heart of the world. — Ali Farka Touré. from the liner notes to his 1994 album, Talking Timbukutu In 1994, I was looking forward to seeing the great Malian guitarist for the first time, in a concert with American Ry Cooder, with whom he had recorded the above CD. However, not long before that concert, word came out that Touré had cancelled his tour, because of … Continue reading

Random recent musical notes

A few odds and ends from the musical world recently… A new double CD out on Stern’s of the late Guinean great Sory Kandia Kouyaté. Info, and some music here. Feel free to crank up the volume. Baaba Maal on the food crisis in Mauritania Reports from Senegal recently are that Youssou n’Dour was injured in the leg by a tear gas canister in the unrest over the election situation (and the court decision to not allow him to run for president). See also earlier post on this site And taking another musical perspective on serious political struggles, while the … Continue reading

“Globalized Tuaregs, and the Plight of the Festival in the Desert”

From Afropop Worldwide’s blog: These are trying times for the Tuareg communities of the Sahara. We are barely one month from the 11th annual Festival in the Desert in Timbuktu. A tantalizing preliminary roster (including Salif Keita, Baaba Maal, Habib Koite, and of course the preeminent Tuareg band Tinariwen) has been posted. Tinariwen has recently toured in the US, including an appearance on The Colbert Report, further enhancing their mantle as champions of a globalized, “desert rock” sound. And, prior to a November 25 kidnapping incident in Timbuktu, Festival in the Desert director Manny Ansar was also making the rounds, … Continue reading

Odds, ends & catchups

As noted previously, I haven’t been able to post updates or newsletters recently. The events page (www.events.to-music.ca) now has extensive updates through the new year. Below are a few scatttered items that have been accumulating recently, in no particular order: “Music for Peace” Steve Paikin, on TVO’s “The Agenda” interviews David Buchbinder (Flying Klezmer Bulgar Band, Ashkenaz and the new organization, Diasporic Genius) and Bassam Bishara (oud player and musical director of Arabesque Dance Company). The guests discuss (to a rather naive Paikin, in my view) their thoughts on Israeli/Palestinian conflict and connections, politics and music. They had collaborated on … Continue reading