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Day Two:

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After a small technical hitch the music begins with traditional Touareg bands from Mali and Niger. Impressive performances are delivered in particular by Terakaft; Group Folklorique Niafunké and Rhissa Ag Wanagli…. Despite having previously listened to a certain amount of Touareg music before my trip, nothing has quite prepared me for the visual impact of traditional Touareg dancing; a graceful sinewy undulating movement that seems to start from the neck and flows through the body down to the hips and feet, accompanied by exquisitely precise, delicately flowing hand gestures.

The Touareg musicians create a powerful visual presence on-stage, the men mostly in full traditional dress, often with only their eyes showing; dances involving vicious looking swords twirled around their heads are executed with equal style as when they are wielding electric guitars….. The women are the soul of grace and elegance; swathed in beautiful robes; henna decorations on hands and arms; elaborate jewellery and headdresses, and a strong, confident self-possessed presence both on stage and off…. Nowhere is this embodied more strongly as when Tartit take to the stage; led by 5 women, who mainly sit on stage playing cyclic rythms on tinde drums; their performance is accomplished and joyful. Their lead singer, Fadimata Walett Oumar, a superstar in her own right and role model for many young Malians appears on stage throughout the festival with several other bands, including Koudede from Niger, clearly enjoying the opportunities for musical collaboration that the festival provides.

Bassekou Kouyaté delivers yet another of his passionate, polished performances; this is now the third time I have seen him perform in as many different countries, yet he seems to get better every time, and his band even more slick and tight. The evening is rounded off with a tribute to Ali Farka Touré, led by Afel Boucum, and including performances by Vieux Farka Touré, Haira Arby and Babah Salah.

© Alice Mutasa



Bassekou Kouyate

Festival au Desert patrons


Further Recommended

Click the image below to go to the Festival au Desert Day 3...

Cheik Tidiane @ the Festival au Desert (click to go to day 3)

Go back to the Festival au Desert introduction page.

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