Mali's Live From Festival au Desert: Timbuktu f. Ali Farka All-Stars, Tinariwen, &c. {review}

"What began as a nationalist uprising in Mali’s north—not far from the Festival’s site—was hijacked by hard-line fundamentalists. Conditions rapidly deteriorated in the region. Invaluable historical monuments were sacked and destroyed and music was banned under a strict version of sharia law. January 2013, fighting intensified. France and other countries have intervened." (source)

Live From Festival au Desert (Review)
by Rohiatou Siby {Brooklyn, NY:USA}

I found myself not really liking much of the music representing the north and wanted to give myself time, hoping my opinion would change. But it didn't. I even tried to find videos of the performances hoping that seeing some of the Tuareg artists perform onstage would help me. But it didn't.

My favorite tracks though, were by the Ali Farka Toure All-Stars, Bassekou Kouyate, Habib Koite, Oumar Konate, and Samba Toure. The rhythm and tone, the funk and the groove in those songs feels like home.

Kouyate is all the way blues, the bass on "Poye" pulls me in from the beginning, and the looping rhythm is a wonderful backdrop for Kouyate to display his Ngoni skills; love it!

"Bisimillah" is so funky. I love Oumar's voice alongside Leila's high pitched sound. The feedback from the monitors; it's perfect. The poly-rhythms, the djembe, and the hype man on Walahi mbafo had me dancing non-stop.

Overall the album beautifully confirms that Mali is the crown jewel of the African stringed-acoustic sound. The album is also a testament to the strong influence of Arab culture in this country... and maybe that's what I wasn't feeling.

Album Preview:

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