Anyone who knows me will also know that I’m a massive fan of music from the African Continent. I do try and post some on here once in a while too (e.g. the excellent Salif Keita last week). Mali in particular strikes a chord, the country is seeped in music tradition and music by the likes of Toumani Diabate and Ali Farka Toure is never far from my CD player.
In response to the situation in Mali, singer Fatoumata Diawara has somehow gathered together over 40 of Mali’s most renowned musicians in a studio in Bamako to record a song and video calling for peace. The group is called ‘Voices United for Mali’ and includes Amadou and Mariam, Oumou Sangare, Bassekou Kouyate, Vieux Farka Toure, Djelimady Tounkara, Toumani Diabate, Khaira Arby, Kasse Mady Diabate, Baba Salah, Afel Bocoum, Tiken Jah, Amkoullel and Habib Koite.
“The Malian people look to us,” Fatou said earlier last week. “They have lost hope in politics. But music has always brought hope in Mali. Music has always been strong and spiritual, and has had a very important role in the country, so when it comes to the current situation, people are looking to musicians for a sense of direction.”
There is a great post here discussing the translation and meaning of the song: it is a song for peace (as the title suggests) but also for defiance as Babani Koné and others sing for the Malian people to set aside their differences and mobilize in defense of the fatherland.