Traditionally, the Festival au Desert has been held in Mali, but due to civil war, the festival was cancelled this year. So, in 2013, instead of getting-together in the Sahara, the organizers are taking the music of Mali to the world. Many exiled artists are traveling around the world and throughout the United States for a meeting of Malian musicians united under the Caravan for Peace tour. Chicago is one of the host cities for the Festival au Desert, and World Music Festival Chicago 2013 will stage five concerts in four venues with each performance illustrating the vast musical diaspora of Mali.
The Festival au Desert – Caravan for Peace tour will be in Chicago on September 13, 14 and 15. A highlight is the Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba with Sidi Touré concert on Friday, September 13 is at the Mayne Stage at 8 p.m. Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni ba has recently released an acclaimed new album titled Jama ko, which is a “call” for unity, peace and tolerance. The excellent album was recorded in 2012 in the midst of the Malian Civil War.
The Caravan for Peace continues with two concerts on September 14 at the Old Town School of Folk Music by Sidi Touré, Mamadou Kelly and Leila Gobi. At 7 p.m., in The Myron R. Szold Music & Dance Hall, Malian singer and guitarist Mamadou Kelly and his electric Malian blues style will strike a familiar note with Chicagoans. Guitarist and singer-songwriter Sidi Touré will headline the evening and Malian pop-vocalist Leila Gobi will open and perform in the Gary and Laura Maurer Hall. On September 15, the caravan continues with performances from Mamadou Kelly, Leila Gobi and the International Blues Express featuring Creole musician Cedric Watson and Malian guitarist Sidi Touré performing live together in their Chicago debut at the Hideout beginning at 6 p.m.
More at worldmusicfestivalchicago.org.