The Festival au Desert in Mali has been showcasing artists from Bono to Tinariwen for 12 years, but the 13th edition of the festival has been postponed due to ongoing conflict and violence in the region.
The government asked festival organizers to postpone February and March events in the Malian desert, since the violence could jeopardize the safety of tourists, technicians, artists and journalists. The festival is complying, and will (maybe?) launch the event in the fall instead. In the meantime, other arms of the festival are slated to take place in different regions of the world, including a US event in April and a Europe event in June-July. Visit the festival site for more details.
So far, the postponed line-up included talent from Mali, including Tinariwen, who have been vocal about the the Tuareg sect uprising, the coup d’état, the Islamist conflict and all the political unrest that has razed the region in the last year.
For background on the Mali conflict, read our interview with musicians Tinariwen, Khaira Arby, and SMOD.
Stream the video for Tinariwen’s single “Tenere Taqhim Tossam,” to get a taste of what the desert will be missing this year.