Silencing the music
"BAMAKO, Mali - Khaira Arby, one of Africa's most celebrated musicians, has performed all over the world, but there is one place she cannot visit: her native city of Timbuktu, a place steeped in history and culture but now ruled by religious extremists.
One day, they broke into Arby's house and destroyed her instruments. Her voice was a threat to Islam, they said, even though one of her most popular songs praised Allah.
"They told my neighbors that if they ever caught me, they would cut my tongue out," said Arby, sadness etched on her broad face.
Northern Mali, one of the richest reservoirs of music on the continent, is now an artistic wasteland. Hundreds of musicians have fled south to Bamako, the capital, and to other towns and neighboring countries, driven out by hard-liners who have decreed any form of music - save for the tunes set to Koranic verses - as being against their religion.
The exiles describe a shattering of their culture, in which playing music brings lashes with whips, even prison time, and MP3 and cassette players are seized and destroyed.
"We can no longer live like we used to live," lamented Aminata Wassidie Traore, 36, a singer who fled her village of Dire, near Timbuktu. "The Islamists do not want anyone to sing anymore."
In Malian society, music anchors every ceremony, from births and circumcisions to weddings and prayers for rains. snip end quote. Much more at:
Northern Mali was taken over by the Toureg mercenaries that used to work for Gadaffi, hoping for a separate state, but they teamed up with Muslim fanatics - who then took over the place. And its spiraling down hill fast.
Malian music is fantastic. For the last several years, there is something called the Festival au Desert around Timbuctu, at the link is a utube of 2012 - much smaller than normal due to the unrest, and happened before the takeover. But it gives a flavor of what the place is like - All these Touregs with their camels and ski goggles....
Here is a link that might be useful: Festival au Desert 2012