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on C31 Melbourne

bric-a-brac Puzzled Look
01 Festival of the Desert
For the last three years, a very special event has taken place at Essakane, a remote village on the edge of the mighty Sahara in northern Mali, four hours drive from Timbuktu.

The Festival in the Desert is organised by Touareg tribesmen, with a little help from their friends, and brings together musicians from all over the country, as well as a few awe-struck guests from abroad, for a "feast of the blue note".

The 2003 gathering was the biggest yet and this intense documentary brilliantly captures the atmosphere in a cleverly sequenced series of musical snapshots. The dramatic opening scored by Takamba Super Onze sets the tone with a loping asymmetrical rhythm based on the gait of a camel.

Other local highlights include the otherworldly chants and grunts of Tartit, and fiery performances by Afel Bocoum, Oumou Sangare, Ali Farka Toure and Tinariwen. Robert Plant and Justin Adams sound perfectly at home in this company as do French multi-culturalists LoýJo, who team up with Malian songwriter Django. Festival in the Desert

Wrasse Records / Filter Music