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 include Ali Farka Toure, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare, Dee Dee Bridgewater (USA), Desert Blues (with players from Habib 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.