As I have visited Mali this week in our A-Z of World Politics, it is only right that I capture some of that country’s amazing music by way of today’s Song To Learn and Sing.
Tinariwen are a Toureg band from the deserts of Mali, some of whom are former guerillas who fought against the Malian regime in Bamako.
After the take over of Islamist forces in northern Mali in late 2012, guitarist Abdallah Ag Lamida was arrested for playing ‘satan’s music’. Other members of Tinariwen escaped, but Ag Lamida was caught as he tried to save his guitars from being destroyed by the Islamists.
Although Ag Lamida was later reported to be ‘safe and free’, his arrest and the attempt to destroy his instruments is as clear an indication as you could have of the threat to Mali’s great musical tradition from religious radicals. This song is from Tinariwen’s wonderful 2009 album, Imidiwan. Your God has got to be pretty fucked up if it wants to ban something as sublime as this.