Created in January 2001, the Festival Au Desert is held every year in the North of Mali, usually in Essakane, two hours from Timbuktu; sometimes directly at Timbuktu. It is organized by AITMA and EFES Associations together with Essakane Production . This festival seeks its origin in the big traditional Touareg festivities, as Takoubelt in Kidal and Temakannit in Timbuktu, which represented for a long time a place for decision making and exchange of information among the different communities. At the beginning, there were songs and touareg dances, poetries, camel rides and games. Today, the Festival is opened to the external world and welcomes artists from other Malian regions, other African countries, but also from Europe and the rest of the world. During three days, around 30 artistic groups are invited from all around the world to present their art.
International Library of African Music
Fifty years ago, in 1954, Hugh Tracey founded ILAM in Roodepoort, outside Johannesburg, as a research and archival centre for traditional African music. This was the start of the thousands of recordings he made through eastern, central and southern Africa which resulted in the 'Music of Africa' and the 'Sound of Africa' which you can find described on this web site, now all digitised and available on CD. At that time to take an interest in African music was considered eccentric, not only to say crazy. Fifty years later, Hugh Tracey's vision has been fulfilled, with African music now held in the respect it has always deserved.