2 APRILE 2012
Malian Musicians Call For Peace
Khaira Arby, Vieux Farka Toure and More Release New Track Calling For Peace In Malida Tom Pryor
Mali has long been one of West Africa's musical powerhouses, with rich legacies of traditional musical styles feeding one of the most vibrant homegrown pop music cultures anywhere on the planet.
But in recent months the usually stable nation has been wracked by political violence - first in the country's North, where a long-simmering Tuareg rebellion has broken out into a full-fledged independence movement that's overtaken much of the region. While in the capital, Bamako, renegade soldiers under the command of Captain Amadou Sanogo have staged a coup d'etat against the government of President Amadou Toumani Toure in late March - just a few weeks before democratic elections were scheduled to be held.
As the situation remains in flux - with the Northern rebels taking more major towns and regional leaders enacting sanctions against Sanogo's increasingly-isolated mutineers - its difficult to predict what will happen next. But one thing is certain: it's a very difficult time for Mali's civilian population, as refugees continue to flee the fighting in the North, both into the bush and into neighboring countries like Mauritania and Burkina Faso. While those families who choose to stay home and wait for a resolution are subject to the privations of martial law, including curfews, petrol rationing, and closed international airports.
But amid this growing humanitarian crisis, some of Mali's artists have chosen to speak up for Mali's civilian population, as we learned today in the following press release from the U.S. publicist for Malian singer Khaira Arby:
By chance, Khaira Arby was at work in a Bamako recording studio with JeConte and the Mali Allstars when the news broke that a coup was in progress, in the streets right outside the door. No stranger to socio-political issues, Khaira Arby was eager to work on the new song that JeConte had just written about the tensions in Mali. Together with two other internationally recognized Malian music stars, Vieux Farka Toure and Bassekou Kouyate, this a href="http://soundcloud.com/maliblues/le-monde-pour-la-paix">plea for peace was born.
Despite the smiles in the photos from the session, you can see the anxiety and tension on everyone's face. Far from her home, Khaira was already worried about the effects of the northern rebellion on her home and family in Timbuktu.
Khaira Arby is scheduled to tour North America beginning April 26th in Dallas, Texas. Everyone is anxious about her ability to get out of the country, and Khaira is worried about leaving her family during these critical times, if the situation there is not clarified.
When she arrives in the U.S., she will continue to call for a peaceful resolution to all conflicts around the world. She is keenly aware of the long-term suffering created by war falls most heavily on the shoulders of women. A strong advocate for women's rights and for respect for women, she will continue to put this issue front and center.
Khaira Arby U.S. Tour Dates:
4/26 DALLAS, TX Kessler Theater
4/27 LAFAYETTE, LA Festival Int'l de Louisiane
4/28 LAFAYETTE, LA Festival Int'l de Louisiane
4/30 ATLANTA, GA The Earl
5/1 DURHAM, NC Local 506
5/2 WASHINGTON, DC DC9
5/3 NEW YORK, NY LPR
5/4 BOSTON, MA Johnny D's
5/5 ROCHESTER, NY Abilene Bar & Grill
5/7 MONTREAL, QC La Sala Rosa
5/9 GRAND RAPIDS, MI Pyramid Scheme
5/10 CHICAGO, IL Old Town (small room)
5/11 IOWA CITY, IA Englert Theatre
5/12 LINCOLN, NE Bourbon Theater
5/14 SALT LAKE CITY, UT Urban Lounge
5/19 JOSHUA TREE, CA Joshua Tree Music Fest