Festival au Desert - Caravan for Peace: Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa / Imharhan / Tartit Mamadou Kelly - Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
10 Lincoln Center Plaza - 212-875-5000
Description: A beacon of dialogue across cultures, Mali's Festival au Desert has turned from global musical event to a worldwide call for peace, in response to the recent turmoil that has gripped the African region and stymied musical expression. These ensembles highlight the Festival's trademark sounds. A veteran at fusing North African traditions and cosmopolitan jazz, Aziz Sahmaoui (a core member of l'Orchestre National de Barbes) and his new group University of Gnawa take the exuberant trance music of West African migrants to the Maghreb and reshape it. A close-knit circle of Touareg musicians shifts from the looping traditional songs (as Tartit) to increasingly dynamic, electric songs (as Imharan), revealing the full range of the nomadic Saharan rock made famous by bands like Tinariwen. Ali Farka Toure's trusted sideman Mamadou Kelly captures the genius of Mali's bluesy, fluid guitar style, matching his crack playing with gritty vocals. After recently fleeing his hometown due to war, Kelly has gathered a strong band of his own, featuring calabash and monochord alongside Kelly's guitar.