The Saharan Nights Music Festival of Essouk in Mali

Tinariwen - Photo by Thomas Dorn
Tinariwen – Photo by Thomas Dorn
Mali – A festival known as The Saharan Nights of Essouk will be held in Mali on January 6-8, 2006. Essouk is near Kidal, Adrar des Iforas, Mali. The festival will feature 3 days of music, dancing, camel racing, poetry and debate in the heart of the Tuareg desert. It will also be

‘s only desert festival appearance in 2006.

The Festival in the Desert at Essakane near Timbuktu has become justifiably renowned, but what is less well known is that there are many festivals in the desert. One of the rootsiest and most entrancing takes place in the ancient ruined city of Essouk, north of Kidal in the far northeast of Mali. Under the title of The Saharan Nights of Essouk, the Essouk Festival was started by a group of local Tuareg leaders, including musicians from Tinariwen, in order to promote their native Adrar des Iforas region. This remote mountain range is one of the most beautiful and culturally rich parts of the Sahara.The Festival will take place over three days in a beautiful desert plain, surrounded by the dark hills of the Adrar, not far from the ruined city of Essouk. The line-up of attractions gives pride of place to desert musicians and artists. Groups from Libya, Algeria, Niger and other parts of Mali will be there. There will also be musicians and street performers from France.

The music forms only a part of the attraction of the Festival. Also featured will be camel parades, traditional tindé drum sessions, debates, workshops, hockey on sand, a crafts fair and a tent village. And to top it all admission is free.

Essouk puts an emphasis on simplicity, tradition, hospitality and pride in desert culture. For more information go to (the pages are in French but English information will be added shortly).

For cheap flights to Mali visit: (Point Afrique) and Go Voyages. There are also several accredited local tour companies:
Touareg Tours
Contact: Natascha Farenxena +223 6 19 99 29
Affala Voyages
Contact: Cheikh +223 6 08 32 94