The West African nation of Mali has seen instability and violence since March of 2012 when a military coup overthrew the government of President Amadou Toumani Touré. Since then, the violence has escalated as Islamic extremists have joined the fighting and further divided the country into North and South.
This month France announced their intervention due to the rapid escalation of violence over the last few months, and the United States is now helping with operational support.
Last week, Fatoumata Diawara, a well known singer who was born of Malian parents, gathered 40 of Mali's most renown musicians to record a song to raise awareness of the conflict and to call for peace. The group is collectively called Voices for Mali, and includes Amadou & Mariam, who have been featured artists on Deirdre's World Music Picks; the song is called "Mali-ko."
- Nonesuch Records has the full lyrics available on their website.
Glastonbury, the huge music festival held each year in the soutwest of England, has announced the first act for this year's festival, which will be held in June: Malian singer Rokia Traore.
In a recent interview in the Guardian, Emily Eavis, the festival's co-organizer, said that they felt it was important to show solidarity with the musicians in Mali. The article also cites organizers who say that Malian groups will open one of the stages each day. Click here for more.
The announcement of Glastonbury support continues to build momentum for musicians in the embattled country. Fatoumata was also a hit at this month's globalFEST, on January 16 in New York City.