Mali: No music please, we’re Moslem
Malian musicians have become household names in the West, from the late Ali Farka Toure to the bravely experimental Rokia Traore, currently appearing at the Sydney Festival, to Tinariwen, which has performed with the Rolling Stones. There is the passionate social commentary of Oumou Sangare and the rousing, commercially successful African pop of Amadou & Mariam.
And yet the Islamic rebel groups are trying to wipe out this ancient culture – and in the process have forced Malian musicians to examine the role they should now play.
What’s it to be, Mali? Music or a vile, restrictive, misogynistic religion without a shred of supporting evidence?