Posts Tagged ‘festival in the desert’
Words by Birikiti Pegram, Songlines Intern
As the crisis in Mali continues to worsen, pressure is mounting for a resolution to be reached. The humanitarian crisis, exacerbated by socio-political strife, escalated to a coup d’etat in March 2012. This was followed by an occupation in the north of Mali, first by a separatist movement and now by Islamist militants. For music and culture, the extremists are a fatal threat. Andy Morgan reports of musicians receiving death threats, having their homes raided, their instruments and musical equipment set alight by militiamen.
However, the world is rallying together to contribute solutions to the cause. People are talking, the word is spreading, awareness is increasing: from local musicians to international organisations, there are many trying to make a difference.
‘A musical, cinematic project with humanitarian spirit’
Our current issue features a piece by Kathryn M. Werntz (Nov/Dec 2012, #88, p32) who interviews Malian artists about the problems in their homeland and what solutions might be available. The article she wrote for Songlines was the impetus for her new film project Sahel Calling, a ‘musical, cinematic project with humanitarian spirit.’ There will be two films telling the story of courageous musicians making a stand for their country in dangerous times, and the impact they make with their work. The films will also feature footage from concerts and interviews in villages and refugee camps while the crew journey with the Caravans of Artists for Peace and National Unity around Western Africa.
These caravans of peace will be replacing the annual Festival in the Desert. The world renowned festival had to be relocated from the dunes of Essakane to within Timbuktu city limits in 2010, which is no longer safe either. Rather than be silenced by Sharia law advocates, festival organisers are continuing the 13th edition of the event as a ‘Festival in Exile’ in a determined effort to safeguard the values of the festival – those of peace and tolerance.
Festival in the Desert
The Festival in Exile will start with two caravans from Bamako, Mali and Tamanrasset, Algeria and stop at music festivals along the way. They will meet finally in Oursi, Burkina Faso for the annual Festival in the Desert on February 20-22 2013. The Oursi site was chosen for its physical (a set of sand dunes) and cultural (Songhai, Tuareg and Fulani communities) similarities with Timbuktu.
Through the Festival in Exile, with musicians as guides to culture, landscape and life on the Caravans of Peace, Sahel Calling will be documenting the voice of the musicians and their attempts to address and help the situation. Using music as a tool to explore and expose complex issues, Sahel Calling hopes to reach and inspire a global audience to take notice and take action.
Proceeds from the Sahel Calling film project will go towards Oxfam’s West African Emergency Program, UNHCR’s Refugee Programs and Instruments4Africa’s Aide 2 Northern Artists Program. There are many ways for everyone to get involved, and make a contribution.
See the Sahel Calling website for more details.
The June issue of Songlines (#76) – on sale April 29 – sees this year’s Festival Supplement featuring Songlines Top 10 UK Summer Festivals and Songlines 25 of the Best International Festivals.
Get your sunhats, tents and wellies at the ready for another year of festivals full of the most legendary names and the freshest talent on the world music scene. Here are the Songlines recommendations:
Songlines Top 10 UK Summer Festivals Africa Oyé, Liverpool Blaze Festival, London Cambridge Folk Festival Glastonbury Festival Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye Hebridean Celtic Festival Larmer Tree Festival Norfolk & Norwich Festival Shrewsbury Folk Festival WOMAD Charlton Park Songlines 25 of the Best International Festivals Africa Festival, Germany Chicago World Music Festival, USA Druga Godba, Slovenia ESP Afrika/Cape Town International Jazz Festival, South Africa Essaouira Gnawa & World Music Festival, Morocco Fes Festival of Sacred Music, Morocco Festival in the Desert, Mali Festival Interceltique de Lorient, France FMM Sines, Portugal Forde Folk Festival, Norway Guča Trumpet Festival, Serbia Jodhpur RIFF (Rajasthan International Folk Festival), India La Grande Rencontre, Canada Lake of Stars, Malawi Musiques Metisses, France Oslo World Music Festival, Norway Rainforest Festival, Sarawak Sauti za Busara, Zanzibar Savannah Music Festival, USA Sfinks Festival, Belgium Sommelo Festival, Finland Sziget, Hungary Ulsan World Music Festival, South Korea Warsaw Cross Cultural, Poland WOMADelaide, Australia