Music under fire in northern Mali

Our hearts and prayers go out to our friends in Mali, where music has gone underground in the rebel-occupied north.  Both Tuareg separatist militias such as Ansar Dine, as well as al-Qaida-affiliated groups like AQMI and MUJAO have imposed their harsh version of Islamic fundamentalist Sharia law, both banning music, and threatening sever punishment for anything they deem as against their manipulated and “Wahabist” version of Islam.  These groups have also destroyed ancient Sufi tombs in Timbuctou, both sacred to the locals, and recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

Even in Niafunké, hometown of the great “desert blues” guitarist, Ali Farka Touré, music is outlawed.  Quoting from a recent UK Guardian article by Andy Morgan, a musical sidekick of the late Touré said, “I know that if Ali were to awake from his tomb today, he would just go straight back into it. He would die twice.”

From the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20624236

The late and great Malian desert blues guitarist, Ali Farka Touré

The late and great Malian desert blues guitarist, Ali Farka Touré

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