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One World Concert Series presents

Festival in the Desert

with Tinariwen and Markus James

One World presents Festival in the Desert with Tinariwen and Markus James on Thursday April 20 at the Historic Ashland Armory in downtown Ashland at 8 p.m. to close this season&

s 2005-2006 series.

Since January 2001, an annual festival called The Festival in the Desert has been taking place deep in the African Sahara. This festival has grafted itself onto the traditional gatherings of the nomadic Tuareg people. For centuries these gatherings have provided an opportunity for the Tuaregs to congregate, trade and celebrate. They also provide a public stage for various forms of Tuareg song, dance, poetry, camel racing, ritual sword fighting, games and other age-old cultural pursuits. Today these festivals are welcoming artists from other parts of Mali, Africa and the World. Past performers include Ali Farka Touré, Habib Koité, Manu Chao, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangaré, Tinariwen, Amadou et Mariam, Issa Bagayogo, Lo'Jo, and Ramato u Diakité. One World presents a taste of this Festival at the Historic Ashland Armory on April 20 with Tinariwen, and Markus James opening the show at 8pm.


s guitar band, Tinariwen, has traveled a unique path to global fame: from refugee camps in Algeria and Libya, to civil war in Mali, to creating some of the world&

s most beguiling, entrancing music and rubbing shoulders with rock royalty like Led Zeppelin&

s Robert Plant. The Financial Times Review maintains that &

...they are, not only the best world music, but the best rock and roll band in the world!&

Tinariwen is the pioneer band of the Tuareg people from the Adrar des Iforas who found refuge in the 1970s in Tamanrasset (Algeria). The birth of the band in 1992 is closely linked to the exile and subsequent wandering of the Taureg; it is itself, the emanation of this diaspora. Tinariwen, accompanied by women on vocals so to better embody a musical harmony which is linked to that of the encampment, has felt its duty is to struggle, and has lived according to this destiny - by communicating these themes of exile and opposition in their songs.

Their musical style, &


draws inspiration from the music of Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, and John Lennon as well as the traditional music of the Tuareg. Their music plays an integral role in the cultural identity of the Tuareg youth (in Algeria, Lybia, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso). Their songs are lively; echoing the deeply felt collective passion that structures their resistance. Their sung poetry calls for the political awakening of consciousness and communicates the difficulties/hardships associated with their exile, of their repression in Mali, of their migration to Algeria and of their claims for sovereignty and self-determination.

American born Markus James has traveled several times to Mali where he has recorded his highly praised original, blues-influenced songs with some of West Africa&

s greatest players. The reception these true cross-cultural collaborations have received has been extraordinary. Blues Review Magazine calls his music &

a vital mix of the Mississippi Delta and Mali, a cultural exchange of haunting beauty and mystery.&

And Wired Magazine describes it as &

a hypnotic journey through time that goes all the way to the heart of the blues.&

His collaborations in Timbuktu with Hamma Sankare (Ali Farka Toure's legendary Calabash player), Hassi Sare (master of the one-stringed Njarka violin), and Solo Sidibe (who plays the Kamele N'Goni, the hunter's harp of the Wassoulou people) are the subject of the documentary film and CD / DVD release &


This group has performed at the Festival in the Desert in 2003 and 2004, as well as in Timbuktu and other towns and villages in Northern Mali.

Markus has returned to West Africa several times, and has co-produced several programs for Afropop Worldwide, notably &

Ali Farka Toure: Live From Niafounke,&

as well as film projects and live performances to great critical acclaim. He is currently touring with Malian multi-instrumentalist Mamadou Sidibe, who plays kamele n&

goni and calabash, as well as sings in the Bambara language. Their songs feature vocals which alternate between Bambara, Sonrai, and English.

Tickets are $30 for the general public adn $15 for SOU students and children under 12. For tickets to The Festival in the Desert with Tinariwen and Markus James, call 552-6461, visit www.oneworldseries.org, or stop by the Stevenson Union Raider Aid on the SOU campus or the Music Coop in Ashland.