The man from Mali
There are many places where I want to visit in Africa. Mali Rep. is one
of them. The country located in east side of Senegal. The shape of Mali
on the map is like a butterfly. The north east part of the country is got
into by the Sahara. The Niger river runs through middle of the country.
It dries up in dry season and makes a huge flood in rainy season.
In spite of isolated location, Mali has famous tourist sites. For instance,
the village of Dogon people and their traditional dance, Mud mosque of
Djenne and the ancient golden city of Tombouctou (or Timbuktu) which was
flourished once upon a time for trading in the Sahara must be popular destination
for tourists. However thinking about the conflict between tribes or political
instability, Mali is not easy place to visit, I'm sure.
The start I got interest in the country was from Malian music. Nevertheless
such a barren land and sparse population, Mali produces major musicians.
(But please note, I meant "They are well-known among world music fans")
Maybe the big name comes first is Salif Keita. Then Ali Farka Toure must
be the next. I'm huge fan of Ali Farka. He plays the guitar, traditional
instruments and of course vocal. I feel something like "blues sound"
in his music.
It's very interesting. So once I asked to my American friend. "If
Ali Farka's music is a root of Blues?" He told me about it. "Music
is the thing resonance each other. The music which meets the different
culture is reformulated and back to the original country. It's repeated
again and again. In another words, they are effected each other"
So as generally known, if blues music was originated from work song of
African American, the blues went back to Africa and gave grate influence
to this Malian musician. Then Ali Farka's blues in Songhai or Bambara language
returned to America and was strongly supported by American fans.
Unfortunately, Ali Frka Toure passed in 2006. Now for me, only way to listen
his music is playing old CD or cassette tape. Ali Farka was from Tombouctou
region. I wish his music remains our mind forever without burying under
the sand like the ancient golden city.
The old man I met at small town in Senegal was Malian. In the evening dusk,
he listened music with head set. I told him I was interested in Mali and
wanted to visit someday. Then he put something on the piece of paper and
gave it to me. Address, name and short cover letter in French were on it.
"This is the hotel in Bamako (Mali's capital) my friend runs. Maybe
they can help you when you are in Mali" He added. I thanked to him.
The cover letter's still on standing by in my desk drawer.
I was interested in what he was listening with the head set. So I borrowed
it. The music was not blues but very light Senegalese pops.
" Portrait " Tivaouane, Senegal 2003