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Mali Music Outlawed?

The eyes of the world have been on Mali ever since the government overthrow in early 2012.  The world music community in particular has been watching closely, as Mali has grown to become one of Africa's greatest exporters of wonderful music; artists like Toumani Diabate, Salif Keita and Oumou Sangare all call the landlocked region their home.  Thus, the news that's now coming out Mali is rather upsetting: according to multiple reports, the radical Islamic groups that have overthrown the North part of the country have now outlawed any and all music, other than the changing of verses from the Koran, under Sharia law.

Some artists from the North are laying low, some are in exile.  Rose Skelton's insightful article in The Independent includes an interview with Khaira Arby, who is living out of suitcases in Bamako, unable to return to her home in Timbuktu since she left for a U.S. tour in April.  PRI's Marco Werman discusses the situation with Skelton at further length in a radio piece, which is very much worth a listen click to listen

(c) Megan Romer, 2012 / Licensed to