Posts in West Africa
Mali: Music in the Face of Adversity

Mali has a unique and deeply imbedded musical tradition dating back hundreds of years. Bordered by Algeria, Mauritania, Niger, Burkino Faso, Guinea and Senegal, it is a vast, landlocked country, parched and arid, extremely poor, and difficult to navigate as a traveller. Yet aesthetically Mali is spectacular: dramatic cliffscapes, huge skies, the thread of the River Niger which weaves through the country, an unmistakable Sudano-Sahelian architectural style, the most celebrated example being the Great Mosque of Djenne. Perhaps what stands Mali apart most, however, is a distinct and delicately preserved cultural identity…

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The Beginnings of Africa's Culinary Explosion

Much has changed in the last 15 years, since my days living in Togo eating yam chips with chilli sauce on the roadside, or a large plate of pâte (a sort of cake made of cornmeal with a similar consistency to fufu) with meat or fish stew. The emergence of contemporary culture has unfolded since then, including a home-grown culinary scene, which showcases the spice-infused, colourful flavours of the continent. 

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10 Minutes With Vieux Farka Toure

Vieux Farka Toure is a Malian blues guitarist of great international acclaim. He is also the son of late Ali Farka Toure, a true master guitarist and one of Mali’s greatest bluesmen. Having initially defied his father’s wishes by becoming a musician, he finally received the long-awaited nod of approval, when they collaborated together on tracks featured on Vieux’s first album.

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