Festival in the Desert

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
Does a more remarkable concert document exist? Mali's Festival of the Desert, held in January of 2003 at the oasis of Essakane in the southern Sahara would have to take the prize. Over four days and three nights, more than 2000 Touareg tribesmen gathered in their annual convocation -- a market, a political summit, and ceremonial hoe-down. The difference was that, in 2003, for the third time in history, the Touareg, or Tamashek, as they call themselves, invited friends from around the world this reviewer was one of the lucky few and a flock of musicians from Mali and beyond. Towed hundreds of miles overland, the stage hosted dozens of musicians, from local legends to ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
Does a more remarkable concert document exist? Mali's Festival of the Desert, held in January of 2003 at the oasis of Essakane in the southern Sahara would have to take the prize. Over four days and three nights, more than 2000 Touareg tribesmen gathered in their annual convocation -- a market, a political summit, and ceremonial hoe-down. The difference was that, in 2003, for the third time in history, the Touareg, or Tamashek, as they call themselves, invited friends from around the world this reviewer was one of the lucky few and a flock of musicians from Mali and beyond. Towed hundreds of miles overland, the stage hosted dozens of musicians, from local legends to international superstars -- including Led Zeppelin's captain, Robert Plant. Twenty of them made the cut to CD, and fans of African music will be amazed by the vibrant traditions and pop innovations within. The music of the exotically robed Tamashek, represented by the electric boogie of Tinariwen and the rootsy percussive clatter of Tartit, is sheer Sheltering Sky ambience, windswept Islamic-influenced funk, heavy on percussion and guitars. From Niger and Mauritania came other Tamashek groups: the psychedelic Moorish guitar innovator Sedoum Ehl Aida and the exuberant stomp of Tidawt, each with their own spin on the camel-trot rhythms. Significantly, groups from southern Mali, such as the Wassoulou star Oumou Sangaré and her astonishing guitarist Baba Salah, trekked to the desert wastes in a show of solidarity with their Tamashek countrymen -- who only ten years before were involved in bloody civil war. Then there were the guests, France's Lo' Jo and Native Americans Blackfire among them, who dazzled the Africans as much as Ali Farka Touré captivated the westerners. Perhaps the biggest draw for casual music fans will be Plant's mesmerizing blues, "Win My Train Fare Home," which -- thanks to guitarist Justin Adams and members of Lo' Jo -- bridges Malian guitar blues and its Mississippi Delta cousin, throwing in a little Moroccan perfume and Tamashek groove. It might as well have been the festival anthem. For an unforgettable glimpse at a once-in-a-lifetime event, slip this disc in, roast up a goat, and watch the stars unfold above you.
All Music Guide - Chris Nickson
It's the unlikeliest place to imagine a festival, in the Sahara, not far from the Malian town of Timbuktu. But that's the home of the Festival in the Desert, which celebrated its third anniversary in 2003. While it attracts international talent, the real focus is on artists who make their homes in the area, often of the nomadic Tuareg people. But there are others who live locally, like the legendary guitarist Ali Farka Toure, whose village of Niafunke lies just 40 kilometers away, and whose "Karaw" here is a masterpiece of desert funk. But so many of the bands here mine a wonderfully dark, spare, bluesy groove, like Tindé, or Tinariwen, whose "Aldachan Manin" has a muscular suppleness. Oumou Sangare, one of the great singers from Mali's southern Wassoulou region, brings plenty of raw soul to "Wayena," and kora genius Ballake Sissoko collaborates with Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi for a fascinating piece. America's Blackfire connect the dots between the Sahara and the Arizona deserts, although their punk-inflected rock is a little out of place, but still powerful. Lo' Jo, one of the festival's instigators, team up with Malian Django for a storming version of their "Jah Kas Cool Boy," and with "Win My Train Fare Home," Robert Plant and Justin "Scarecrow" Adams offer a circular blues that fits in perfectly with the other artists. Every performance is outstanding, but even more, they communicate the open nature of the festival, the feeling of what it was to be there on those nights and days in January 2003. And that is what makes this very special indeed, lifting it far above most live albums. This one definitely has the magic, making it simply one of the best live albums ever released.
New York Times
Genuinely great; there are a few pre-eminent Malian musicians like Oumou Sangare, Afel Bocum and Ali Farka Toure, as well as a few names you won't know.

Genuinely great; there are a few pre-eminent Malian musicians like Oumou Sangare, Afel Bocum and Ali Farka Toure, as well as a few names you won't know.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/14/2003
  • Label: World Village Usa
  • UPC: 713746802028
  • Catalog Number: 468020

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Super 11 - Takamba Super Onze (4:46)
  2. 2 Buri Baalal (5:01)
  3. 3 Tihar Bayatin (3:03)
  4. 4 Win My Train Fare Home (If I Ever Get Lucky) (6:03)
  5. 5 Ya Moulana - Sedoum Ehl Aida (3:19)
  6. 6 Jah Kas Cool Boy - So Jo (5:02)
  7. 7 Wayena - Oumou Sangare (3:01)
  8. 8 Karaw - Ali Farka Touré (4:56)
  9. 9 Aldachan Manin (3:39)
  10. 10 Politique - Adama Yalomba (3:13)
  11. 11 Ariyalan - Tidawt (2:13)
  12. 12 Chameaux - Ballaké Sissoko (3:47)
  13. 13 Ihama - Kel Tin Lokiene (2:46)
  14. 14 Le Juge Ment - Kwal (4:02)
  15. 15 Wana - Tinde (3:11)
  16. 16 Koultouleili-Khalett Là - Aicha Min Chigaly (4:21)
  17. 17 Oubilalian - Igbayen (2:23)
  18. 18 Fady Yeïna (2:11)
  19. 19 What Do You See - Frank Blackfire (3:41)
  20. 20 Laisse-Moi Dire - Django (2:34)
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Album Credits

Technical Credits
Ali Farka Touré Composer
Robert Plant Composer
Afel Bocoum Composer
Clive Deamer Composer
Porl Thompson Composer
Aicha Mint Chighaly Composer
Andy Morgan Liner Notes
Baba Salah Composer
Ludovico Einaudi Composer
Frank Blackfire Composer
Denis Péan Composer
Jean Paul Romann Live Sound
Fadimata Walett Oumar Composer
Philippe Brix Artistic Director
Triban Union Producer
Ibrahim Ag Alhabib Composer
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