Fatoumata Diawara—who is coming Minneapolis on April 12 in a Walker and Cedar copresentation—brought together over 40 of Mali’s top singers and musicians to form Voices United for Mali. They recorded “Mali-ko” (Peace / La Paix) to bring attention to the current political crisis in Mali.
Diawara is joined by such stars as Amadou and Mariam, Oumou Sangare, Bassekou Kouyate, Vieux Farka Toure, and more. Their message is one of peace and unity, saying “Our Mali never wanted war.” In it, they speak out against Sharia law, starvation, and violence against women in the north perpetrated by armed jihadist groups (including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb).
In a show of solidarity, the Glastonbury Festival highlight Malian musicians, with Rokia Traore—who played the Walker in 2004—kicking off the event.
The French military is intervening in this formerly democratic country, and the UN has warned that up to 700,000 people might be displaced by the war.
“The Malian people look to us,” said Diawara. “They have lost hope in politics. But music has always brought hope in Mali.”