Malian Music By Moonlight Seems Far From Country’s Woes

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Tamikrest perform at the Sahel music festival in the Lompoul desert in Senegal November 22, 2013. REUTERS/Jean-Francois Huertas

In keeping with this spirit, the local population can attend the festival for free and they wander in and out of concerts unhindered by fences or walls, mixing with a crowd of middle-class Senegalese and expatriates from the capital Dakar. Beneath Mauritanian tents, a storyteller tells moral fables inspired by the oral tradition of Senegal’s nomadic Fula people as children design artwork from desert sand. “This festival is my personal revolt against this idea that the Sahel is just a region of catastrophes – migrants, drought, attacks,” Rodriguez, a Spaniard who has lived in Senegal for 25 years, told Reuters. Among the artists invited were singers from the griot caste, known as poets and historians. Mansour Seck, a blind Senegalese griot dressed in flowing aqua robes known as a “grand boubou”, swayed gently as he sang, his face occasionally bursting into a boyish smile. The lyrics, sung in both Wolof and Fula, recall great harvests and sorrows in the region such as the massacre of Senegalese soldiers at the camp of Thiaroye in 1944 – the increasingly frantic sting-plucking recalling the sounds of gunshots. Guinean Sekouba Bambino, one of the most famous singers to emerge from the poor West African country, was the last act on the second day of the festival.
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“Music consumption has gone up tremendously in India. And in 2014, it will be crossing 1 billion streams, which is an important milestone for us,” he said. While music companies have always looked at user generated content website YouTube as a threat to their business, this seems to be changing. In a panel discussion that included Devraj Sanyal, managing director, Universal Music Group South Asia & EMI Music South Asia, and Manan Singh, head of music partnerships (South Asia), YouTube, the speakers said how they are now joining hands to build a win-win business proposition for each other. Says Sanyal, “The future isn’t about Bollywood music.
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