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Songhoy Blues: concerts against musical bans

Jihadists threaten to cut off languages ​​to Malian musicians, but the Songhoy Blues group, wishing to achieve a public outcry, continues to play. Belonging to some people and religion do not play any role for them. They are together to unite the rest.

Songhoy Blues are 5 guys from Mali. Alu, Garba and Umar Toure, as well as Nathaniel Dembele. They came together to use the guitar, bass, drums and vocals to draw the attention of the public to Islamic fanatics and their ban on music.

Background: in 2013, a group of Islamists established a dictatorship in northern Mali in accordance with their interpretation of the Sharia. “Jihadists censor even music,” says vocalist Alu Toure, “threatening physical harm – cutting off the tongue.”

No music No Life
Guitarist Garba Toure was the first to directly witness the Islamist terror. When the rebels began to seize, he was in the city of Dire, located 80 kilometers from Timbuktu. Football and music were banned. “For me, playing the guitar is just as necessary for existence as, for example, food,” Garba says. And so the next bus he left for Bamako. In the capital, he met with Alu and Umar (despite the same surname, none of them are related to each other – the surname is very common).

Having gained their ranks as drummer Nathaniel, the participants formed a quartet – this is how Songhoy Blues were born. As mentioned above, belonging to some people and religion do not play any role for them: Alu, Garba and Umar Toure are Muslims from the north, Nathaniel is a Catholic from the southern part of the country.

Cultural mission
These four musicians see their mission in the cultural union of various tribes of Mali: “Music can unite everyone, it gives comfort, the meaning of life and gives peace,” says Alu. “Here in Mali, music has a special meaning. People without music are like a body without a soul.”

It is symbolic that the group dubbed itself Songhoy Blues, inspired by the name of the ancient state of Songai. In the XIV century, the state stretched across the entire Sahel region, uniting such peoples as Bambara, Fula and Fulba.

Disturbing rhythms
Songhoy Blues is a mix of traditional local sounds and modern drums. Their music is often compared to the Tuareg band Tinariwen or the guitar legend Ali Farka Toure. “I’m not surprised,” says Alu. “In the end, we all come from the same places and have the same roots.”

On their debut album “Music In Exile”, the musicians reflected their personal experiences. The song “Petit Metier” was written right after the jihadists retreat. “Then none of our compatriots took the initiative,” Alu explains, “there were no people willing to help the country. They hoped only for international help. “You can’t just put up with your fate, the vocalist calls.” We must join forces and manage our own lives. ”

Guitarist Garba Toure was the first to directly witness the Islamist terror. When the rebels began to seize, he was in the city of Dire, located 80 kilometers from Timbuktu. Football and music were banned. “For me, playing the guitar is just as necessary for existence as, for example, food,” Garba says. And so the next bus he left for Bamako. In the capital, he met with Alu and Umar (despite the same surname, none of them are related to each other – the surname is very common).

Songhoy Blues are 5 guys from Mali. Alu, Garba and Umar Toure, as well as Nathaniel Dembele. They came together to use the guitar, bass, drums and vocals to draw the attention of the public to Islamic fanatics and their ban on music.

Background: in 2013, a group of Islamists established a dictatorship in northern Mali in accordance with their interpretation of the Sharia. “Jihadists censor even music,” says vocalist Alu Toure, “threatening physical harm – cutting off the tongue.”
The situation in Mali is still tense, although slowly but surely everything is returning to its former track. Songhoy Blues assures: “If our fathers do not want to build a new future, then we will do it.”

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