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Like the Blues? Check Out the Music of Mali
Lobi Traoré [a local Mali musician] is not the first musician to cite parallels between the music of the Mississippi Delta and that of the Niger River. The late Ali Farka Touré, a Sorhai who grew up on the banks of the Niger south of Timbuktu, once said that the American blues were born along his bend in the river. Robert Plant found similarities between the assouf music of the Tuaregs and American blues when he played at the Festival of the Desert near Timbuktu in 2003, one of several multiple-day outdoor concerts that draw thousands to Mali each year.
It's a great article. And if, perchance, you find yourself called by the siren song of the music of Mali, the article also features tips on where to stay, and how to find this beautiful music. A trip to Mali not in your financial plans? Never fear: you can always pick up a CD by Toumani Diabete (shown in the picture above), who won a Grammy this year for Best Traditional World Music Album, or, in the alternative, check out these ten albums of contemporary Malian music, courtesy of the Times.