Canada – Canadian world music ensemble Galitcha will be
traveling to Mali on January 2nd, 2005. They will arrive in Essakane, 65 km
north of Timbuktu on January 5th. The group will be performing at the 5th annual
Féstival au Désert (Festival in
the Desert) in Essakane.
Thanks to the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year
invested $27.7 million in music throughout Canada, Galitcha has been awarded a
grant to cover 80% of the travel costs. To cover the rest of the costs, the band
will be having a fundraiser called Snowshoeing to Timbuktu on
Saturday, January 1st, 12 – 6 PM. The event will be held at Carman Trails,
located 20 minutes north of downtown Ottawa, Canada, on Highway #105, 5 minutes
south of Wakefield. Tickets are $25/ person $5/Kids under 12. For more information, call (819)
459-8883 or 324-4949.About a month ago, Kuljit, leader of the band, received an email from festival
organizer Elmoctar Mohamed inviting the group to perform at this year’s
festival. That started a month long flurry of activity – securing enough funds
to make the trip possible, getting information about travel in Mali, arranging
to procure visas, shots and all that is necessary for such an adventure.
The Festival au Désert has become known as one of the most intriguing World
Music events on the globe. “We are really excited about this opportunity,”
says Kuljit. “It’s a chance of a lifetime.” As ambassadors representing a
diverse and unique part of Canadian culture, Galitcha will parlay an opportunity
for future continuous Canadian presence at the Festival au Désert.
Described as a festival of cultures in the desert for a varied public,
participants include people from Mali, from Africa, Europe and the rest of the
world. Formed in January 2001 as a meeting of Malian Tuaregs and European
musicians, it has attracted notable artists including Robert Plant and Salif
Keita. The festival live recordings – distributed worldwide – have received much
acclaim from critics internationally. Confirmed acts in this year’s line-up
Sangare, Dee Dee Bridgewater (USA), Desert Blues (with players from
Koité, Afel Bocoum and Tartit (3 top groups from Mali);
Tinariwen (Mali) and Mamar Kassey (Niger). Media attendees this year include
ARTE, TV 90, Channel 4 (BBC), FR3 and NHK TV (Japan).
Gallitcha is a world music ensemble based near Ottawa, Canada. The group
performs original and borrowed music with a North Indian footprint, layered with
influences from jazz, North American folk and other global influences. They have
performed at festivals on both coasts and across Ontario, Quebec and the western
provinces, as well as several tours to the US including a performance this past
summer at the Lincoln Center in New York City. Galitcha is one of 6 Canadian
acts chosen by Folk Alliance Canada to showcase at the North American Folk
Alliance conference in Montréal in February 2005. They will perform as the
chosen main act at the upcoming Réseau Ontario conference gala in January 2005.
[Photo of Galitcha by Susan Bernard].