FESTIVAL IN THE DESERT:
Named for the annual event that has taken place in Essakane, Mali every January since the year 2000, the 2007 Eye for Talent Festival in the Desert Tour will once again feature some of the most dynamic music from West Africa.
The rich cultural traditions of Mali’s many ethnic groups have become fused with pop, rock, Afro-Cuban, and big band jazz to create some of the world’s most enchanting music. The 2007 Festival in the Desert Tour will combine two exceptional artists from diverse regions of Mali in an exciting evening of music and culture.
Tinariwen is a band of Tuareg (or Tamashek) musicians, members of the nomadic culture of northern Mali’s Sahara region. Influenced for decades by western rock, this group traded in the traditional stringed instruments for electric guitars to accompany their ornate vocal style. Their participation in the Tuareg struggle for independence and experience of the refugee camps has informed their lyrics and their gutsy sound. “Like a jewel in the sand, Tinariwen captures the imagination and restores your faith in the raw, hypnotic power of music.” Wanderlust (UK)
Vieux Farka Toure, (appearing on the 2007 tour until November 11, ) is the son of Mali’s legendary guitarist Ali Farka Toure. Growing up in two culturally rich regions of Mali, the capital city of Bamako in the South, and his father’s hometown of Niafunke in the desert North, Vieux’s guitar work combines the style received from his father with his own contemporary passion for reggae and rock. “… beautiful, passionate [original] tunes,… grace and joy that is refreshing and memorable,… playing lead and rhythm guitar with expressiveness and flair.” Nashville City Paper
Mamadou Diabate, (appearing on the 2007 tour after November 12,) grew up in both Kita and Bamako, in southern Mali. He comes from a family of griots and he performed that traditional role as he perfected his playing of the kora, the 21-string harp. "...sparkling technique... compelling rhythmic groove... flair for making this ancient instrument sound as though it was invented yesterday…” RootsWorld
Mariem Hassan Group (available for 2008 tour) is the embodiment of the Western Sahara tradition of haul music, used for the past 30 years as a tool for political motivation and social commentary by the Sahrawi people as they struggled for independence. All of the pain and struggle of life in the refugee camps are expressed in the harmonious singing of Mariem Hassan.
Eye for Talent, Festival in the Desert 2007 08/15/07
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