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Ok, here we go. We have been to Mali twice in the last two years to see firstly the Festival au Desert in Timbouctou and then the Festival sur Niger in Segou. The music is INCREDIBLE - the best music and the best performances we have ever seen in our lives (and have I seen the big ones in terms of Western music). Some favourites, besides the ones listed above are: Khaira Arby, an incredible and woefully overlooked singer from Timbouctou, Vieux Farke Toure, son of Ali, an amazing guitarist, Lobi Traore, another wonderful singer and guitarist sadly deceased, Boubacar Traore, one of the most moving singers you will ever hear, Habib Koite and Bamada, Afel Bocoum and Alkibar, Issa Bagayogo (cool sounds) Ba Sissiko, Fatoumata Diawara, a young singer, who is on well deserved rise to world fame, Toumani Diabate, a stunning kora player, Ba Cissoko,
Terakaft (Touareg desert band in the style of Tinawaren), Tamikrest (ditto). Two good starters are The Rough guide to Malian Music and if you want to help Songs for Desert Refugees: A Compilation in Aid of the Refugees From Northern Mali
a stunning sampler. ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/Songs-Desert-Refugees-Various-Artists/dp/B007U2AC04)
All the artist above are available from Amazon or similar. Go and explore a world of wonderful music awaits.
2 years ago on 10 Malian Musicians You Should Know
How about First Aid Kit - the Swedish duo with the ethereal harmonies and great songs - (or were they last year's flavour).
They just performed to a sold out Sydney Opera House and got a well deserved standing ovation.
2 years ago on Flavorwire's 10 Musical Acts to Watch in 2013