Festival in the Desert

Various Artists - Festival in the Desert
Various Artists – Festival in the Desert
Various Artists

Festival in the Desert (World Village, 2003)

I am not much of an adventurer so I have to tip my hat to the musicians, journalists and music fans who trekked out to the Sahara Desert of Mali, (Essakane to be exact) to attend, perform or manage the Festival of the Desert. This compilation chronicles the third annual Festival in the Desert and features live tracks of the 20
musical groups that performed at the 2003 festival. Even for those individuals like myself who are perfectly satisfied seeing the Sahara Desert romanticized in films and novels, (Lawrence of Arabia comes to mind) instead of experiencing it in person, will enjoy this celebration of Malian culture. And if camels and sand turns
you on, then you will doubly enjoy this CD.I first heard about the Festival in the Desert when I interviewed Denis Pean
(Lo’Jo) at WOMAD USA July 2001. Although I thought he was a bit crazy at the
time to participate in a musical festival held in the middle of a desert, he
painted a lovely image and Lo’Jo’s time in the African desert also shaped their
multi-cultural music. The inaugural festival took place during an eclipse, no
less and has been gathering steam and kudos from the world music press ever
since its auspicious birth. The CD comes with a booklet that explains the
history and other facts about the festival. And listeners of Festival in the
will get a lesson that combines geography, culture and

The compilation features varying musical artists that represent nomadic groups
such as the Tuaregs, griots, desert blues musicians, European acts and a Navajo
punk band (Blackfire). You will find rock star Robert Plant singing a blues
number, kora performer Ballake Sissoko sharing the stage with Italian musician
Ludovico Einaudi, the desert celebrities, Tinariwen, Kwal and Foy-Foy and Ali
Farka Toure. Other notables include Lo’Jo, who along with Django organized this
festival, the reputable Oumou Sangare and rising star Afel Bocoum (former
prodigy of Ali Farka) and notable Aicha Bint Chighaly. In short, the CD offers
74 minutes of music ranging from traditional to rock (although thankfully, light
on the rock music and heavy on the Malian fare).

I realize that there are already numerous compilations of Malian musicians, yet
this one comes with a lot of heart from people who turned an impossible dream
into reality. And here’s hoping the auspicious eclipse brings them good fortune.

Compliments of Cranky Crow World Music.

List of Artists:

Takamba Super Onze
Afel Bocoum
Robert Plant & Justin Adams
Sedoum Ehl Aida
Lo’Jo & Django
Oumou Sangare
Ali Farka Toure
Adama Yalomba
Ludovico Einaudi & Ballake Sissoko
Kel Tin Lokiene
Kwal & Foy-Foy
Aicha Bint Chighaly
Baba Salah

Buy Festival in the Desert