Militants attempt to ban music in Mali

Islamist extremists in Mali pose a threat to music, one of the country's greatest exports, suggesting it must be banned so as to purify the nation.

24.10.12

Despite the national identity of Mali’s musical sound, it seems that Malian artists face an internal threat which could see them having to take refuge outside of their own country, according to a report published yesterday in The Guardian.

Under the strict Sharia law that currently governs the country, western music is banned, and as one well-known Touareg musician from Kidal tells the newspaper, “There’s a lack of joy. No one is dancing. There are no parties.”

Various Malian musicians have gained recognition in the Western world with some of the most distinct African music of recent years, including renowned groups such as Tinariwen (pictured).

Toumani Diabaté, a famous Malian Kora player, has stated that “Culture is [Mali’s] petrol”, referring to the significance of Malian music and how it plays such an important role in their imprint upon the rest of the globe, although it now seems that this very resource is under potential threat of being burnt away completely.

The very encouraging piece of news to take from this story is that many Malian musicians are uniting against the extreme views that are threatening their art. You can learn more about this story here, via The Guardian.