Habib Koité Guitar, Zoumana Diarra Guitar, Aly Keïta Balafon
Bassekou Kouyaté Lead Ngoni, Amy Sacko Lead Vocals, Mamadou Kouyaté Ngoni Bass, Moustafa Kouyaté Ngoni Ba, Mahamadou Tounkara Percussion (Yabara, Tama), Abou Sissoko Ngoni Medium, Moctar Kouyaté Calabash
Part 1: Voices for Peace - Underway with Griots and Female Singers from Mali
The first concert of the Underway series this season takes Roger Willemsen to Mali. The West African nation has deeply influenced the sound of Africa in Europe in recent decades. Musicians such as Oumou Sangaré, Amadou & Mariam, Ali Farka Touré and Salif Keïta are its artistic ambassadors. They are heard around the world and play an important role in their own country. And so the evening promises an encounter with proud, unbroken musicians with stories of current events from the region between Timbuktu and Bamako and hopeful anthems for peace in Mali.
Mali is home to the great female voices from the region of Wassoulou in the south west of the country who sing for women’s rights. It is also the land of the griots with their impressive bridge-harp, the kora, and the lute-like ngoni. These highly respected Mandinka-epic singers have been passing on traditional knowledge for centuries without interruption. Popular urban sounds have been coming out of the capital Bamako since the 1970s: from the Super Rail Band of Bamako to the countless young rappers of today. And to the north of Mali, the Tuareg live in the region around the mythical, 1000 year old desert oasis of Timbuktu whose international “Festival au Desert” has been a meeting place for artists from all over the world for the last ten years.
After the military coup of 21 March 2012, jihadists won control in northern Mali and have tried to establish an Islamic rule of terror. In addition to the destruction of UNESCO World Heritage monuments, all music has also been banned. In order to take a stand against this, over 40 of Mali’s most famous musicians came together in the capital, Bamako, in January 2013. Together, they recorded a song for peace. After all, music has always been a symbol of hope for a peaceful Mali.