June 18 2013
Sound Travels this week with the continent of Africa in mind. In particualar, the stellar and oft under-recognized afro-rock that has proliferated in some parts since the advent of the electric guitar. Every country in Africa has some rockers and some countries have an outright affinity. One such place which we explored today was Mali with just a lil bit from nearby Niger.
Mali, and the Sahara regions in general have often been singled out as a place where the blues may have been born While I cannot find the proof, it certainly sounds like it. Mali is a country tha has had long history as a crossroads for nomadic peoples, which has resulted in an unusual blend of cultures and musical styles: Bambara, Songhai, Mandinka, Arab and Tuareg, among others. And the music I shared with you today come from the two sides of Mali's intercine conflict between the government in the South and Islamist Tuareg rebels in the North. Though not really a part of the sctual combat, the music I played comes from musicians who happen to be from either area and for a day on Sound Travels, they all rocked together rather rolled into the civil war that threatens to divide.
From the North we heard Tinariwen and Bombino. While Bombino is actually from Niger, his music is more akin to the Tuareg sounds of Tinariwen. We also heard some music from some Southerners like Juldeh Camara and Vieux Farka Toure. All in all, the music is very similar, and clearly, both rock in their own ways. Let's hope they can also find they're own peace...