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by World Music Network January 21, 2013


Voices United For Mali - 'Mali-ko'

As the political tensions in Mali rumble on, famed singer Fatoumata Diawara has rallied together over forty musicians to record a song calling for peace in their homeland. 

Islamist militants are now in control of the northern part of the country, and are vigorously threatening to advance south bringing sharialaw with them. The French government have recently deployed 2000 troops to the ground. Chad, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Togo, Ghana, Guinea and Senegal are also expected to send forces in shortly. 

During this troubled time, Diawara believes musicians can provide a voice of hope and can promote unity among the masses, many of whom have lost patience with politicians: 'Music has always been strong and spiritual, and has had a very important role in the country, so when it comes to the current situation, people are looking up to musicians for a sense of direction'.

The song 'Mali-ko' translates as 'peace' and intones powerful messages. At one point Djeneba Seck sings, 'Men and women of Mali, the whole word is watching. Unite to bring back stability and harmony'. 

The line-up namechecks a huge range of Malian musicians, styles and genres. Watch the video below and you can spot Toumani Diabate, Amadou & Mariam, Habib Koité, Doussou Bakayoko, Sadio Sidibé,  M’baou Tounkara, Fati Kouyaté, Kasse Mady Diabaté, Soumaila Kanouté, Amkoullel, Master Soumi, Iba one, Mylmo, Afel Boucoum, Djelimady Tounkara, Khaira Arby and even Ivorian reggae superstar Tiken Jah Fakoly. 

The composition is improvisatory with singers flowing atop of each others lines and sparkling kora rippling throughout.