Scenes from Mali & Senegal
Two favorite Afropop destinations are Mali and Senegal. We have enjoyed the active club scene in Senegal and marveled at the powerhouse singing of Thione Seck and other local stars. We have ventured to Timbuktu in northern Mali for the internationally renowned Festival in the Desert. And in the capital, Bamako, we’ve hung out with the internationally celebrated pioneers of roots pop such as Habib Koite and Oumou Sangare. On today’s program, armchair travelers, come with us to some of our favorite scenes. (produced by Sean Barlow)
From the blog:
On March 27th, Israeli singer-songwriter Idan Raichel and Malian guitar master Vieux Farka Touré are releasing a collaborative album, The Tel Aviv Sessions via Cumbancha.
At the end of 2011, while much of the world was on holiday of some sort, one of Africa’s greatest guitarists, Bouba Sacko, died in Bamako. Bouba was a virtuoso and a pioneer.
Malian guitarist Sidi Touré is making a big U.S. crossover push! After a U.S. tour last year, Touré recently signed a deal with stateside label Thrill Jockey who will be releasing his forthcoming full-length, Koïma, on April 17th.
Not many tourists are in these streets. But those who are here and attending this years Festival au Desert edition 2012 will be treated to a great lineup. Tinariwen, Bassekou Koyate, Habib Koite, Noura Mint Seymali, Vieux Farka Toure, Tartit, Samba Toure, Khaira Arby, Oumar Konate, Mamoudou Kelly, Atri n’Assouf, Mamar Kassey, Koudede, Amanar, Abdoulaye Diabate, Igbayen, and many more. Over 30 groups made up this three day event’s program. And on opening night a special guest was announced: Bono from U2.
Reportedly leading these protests, sans the riots, are M23, a composition of civil society groups, ordinary citizens and opposition parties that arose from an uprising on June 23, 2011 protesting against a constitutional makeover by President Wade, and Y’en A Marre (French slang for “fed up”), a group of citizens including youths and artistes fronting for the frustrations of society at large. M23 does not come as a surprise to many people but the leadership and strong voice of Y’en A Marre has been something of an anomaly in this traditional and mostly conservative country. Y’en A Marre has been described by the population and popular media with a range of terms from “a group of rappers” to “a bunch of street thugs” to “young men seeking change”.
Senegalese legend Cheikh Lô is gracing the U.S. with his presence next month in support of his last record, Jamm
In Senegal, political rap group Keur Gui is raising the pressure against the President Abdoulaye Wade, who they say has to go. Their rallying cry: Y’en a Marre, Enough is Enough. Their method is a massive campaign to register young voters and foment a peaceful revolution to end the 11-year rule of Wade and transition to true democracy.
I’ve been coming to Dakar since our first Afropop research trip in 1987. Maybe a half dozen times since then. It’s one of my favorite cities in Africa—the people, the artists, the fantastic live music scene, Senegal’s tradition of democracy, a lively independent media, and the free flow of ideas.