Mali: the music cries out

10 thoughts on “Mali: the music cries out”

  1. Great post Gerry, I share your interests, I’ve seen the first 5 artists Denselow mentions and Toumani Diabete’s Symmetric Orchestra was one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen (Cheikh Lo was support), and I also share your concerns. I think Tinariwen are back in the desert fighting (?). Malian music strikes me as both gentle and forceful, as exemplified by Rokia Traore’s voice & Toumani’s ‘chamber’ Kora (New Ancient Strings for example) neither of which are processes that can withstand fundamentalism. Ali Farka Toure made a good case for Desert Blues being the progenitor of American Blues – see Tony Palmers first episode of All My Loving which presciently captures this; Malian music is one of the worlds treasures, and a shared heritage.
    Did you see the film Bamako, which created a fictional court case where Africa tried the West for exploiting it? It starts with a beautiful, perhaps now tragic, lament by Aissa and goes to to critique why Mali has not developed more both politically and economically thanks to, well, us.

  2. Thanks for your response, Fred. I could have gone on at much greater length about – and offered many more examples of – the greatness of Malian music. Thanks for the reminder about the Tony Palmer – I watched that when it was re-released a year or so back, but had forgotten that first episode. Just a mark of how good, how informed and comprehensive that series was. Thanks, too, for the Bamako recommendation – I’ve not seen it, but remember the reviews when it came out. I’m off to check Lovefilm!

  3. Perfect timing for this Gerry – a reminder of what Mali has given us. I know and love most of those artists except, to my shame, Oumou Sangare. Definitely someone to check out. Tony Palmer’s films are brilliant too.

  4. Your post came just in time to alert us to Rokia Traore performing tonight here in Melbourne, At the Melbourne Recital Hall.
    I have long loved the late Ali Farka Toure and tonight will be a new experience. Something in the Malian sound resonates deeply for me and I find Farka Toure wonderful to listen to when I am painting.
    Thanks again, although somehow the post went to my partner and I missed it but happily he picked it up in time. I also lovethe madeleine, I had not hear of Daphne Oxenfords death here in Australia, so thanks for the memory of many afternoons of listening with mother!

  5. I’m a bit late finding this ;) but thank you for the wonderful music! Have already shared your post with a friend. I love your blog, It’s lovely to find another Liverpool area blogger.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Maggie, and pleased that you follow the blog. It is good to find other bloggers in the Liverpool area – have you discovered Ronnie Hughes’ blog A Sense of Place ( I think you might like it. Oh, and by the way, Toumani Diabate is playing kora duets with his son at St Georges Hall concert room on Tuesday evening. Tickets from the Phil.

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