Things are not going well for the people of Mali. This west African nation is being riven by divisions religious, political, ethnic, and economic. To the north, the historic desert city of Timbuktu is the scene of violence, power struggle, and rebel uprising. To the south, the landscape is greener but life no less difficult, as a military junta recently overthrew the elected government. The country is tearing itself in two, and people in both parts of the land do not know what’s next.

As is often the case, though, artists have quickly cut straight to the heart of what’s needed.

Singer Khaira Arby was at work in a recording studio in the capital city of Bamako when news came that a coup d’etat was in progress in the streets right outside her door. Long interested in peace and justice issues, Arby quickly agreed to work on a new song to talk about what is going on. Together with two other Malian musicians who have also become international stars, Vieux Farka Toure and Bassekou Kouyate, and with the studio team put together producer Joe Conte, the Mali Allstars, they made a recording.

The title says it all: Le Monde Pour La Paix. In it, you may hear Arabic sounds from the north, rhythms from west and central Africa, words in French, English, and tribal languages, and at the very end, quietly spoken, the one word: peace. Take a listen

Le Monde Pour La Paix

Khaira Arby is meant to begin a short North American out on 26 April, although at this point is uncertain whether or not she will be able to leave the country. Her most recent album is Timbuktu Tarab

you may also wish to
read more about the situation in Timbuktu from the New York Times
get an overview of what’s happening in Mali from Voice of America
learn more about Malian music at Mali Blues

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Kerry Dexter is one of six writers who contribute to Perceptive Travel’s blog. You will often find her writing about places, events, and people connected with music, history, and the arts in Europe and North America. You may find more of Kerry's work at her site Music Road as well as in Wandering Educators, National Geographic Traveler, Ireland and the Americas, and other places online and in print.

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