Songs for Desert Refugees, available now on Glitterhouse Records, is a benefit album for Northern Mali and the rural communities of Aguel’hoc and Tessalit which have faced some of the worst violence the country has seen since gaining independence in 1960. Over 280,000 people have been displaced from their towns, villages and camps by the ongoing conflicts that began in January when the Touareg-led revolutionary movement called the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (NMLA) attacked the military barracks in Menaka. Everyday life has been disrupted by armed militias patrolling the streets among the wreckage of destroyed buildings and historical sites. Andy Morgan (UK journalist and former manager of Tinariwen) notes how the reach of war extends beyond the battle lines.
“But war is about many lives and daily routines that have been made unlivable. It’s about schools that are ransacked or closed. It’s about banks that have been gutted and the savings of many lifetimes gone. It’s about salaries that are no longer paid. It’s about shops with no food to sell. About prices inflated by base profiteering. About animals killed or stolen. About streets poisoned by an atmosphere of ever present violence. About worry carved on the face of family and friends. About the exhaustion of conflict. About fear.” – Andy Morgan
The situation in Mali has brought about the worst refugee crisis in the southern Sahara for decades. Many have fled Mali for border camps in Algeria, Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso. To aid the refugees, this compilation album was put together with all profits going to two trusted non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The first, Tamoudre, works with nomads in the pastures around Tessalit to make sure their livelihood is sustainable and prosperous. The second NGO is Etar, who supports education projects to preserve the Tamashek culture and develop exchanges between the desert and Europe.
This incredible compilation brings together some of the best desert music from Mali (Tinariwen, Tamikrest, Terakaft, Tartit…), Niger (Bombino, Toumast, Etran Finatawa) and Algeria (Nabil Baly Othmani, Faris). The money raised from this CD will be used for food, blankets and medicine. Everyone involved in the making of Songs for Desert Refugees has done so out of the kindness of their hearts and every dime of your purchase goes towards the cause. Listen to Tamikrest’s “Warktifed” above and grab the album at bandcamp or wherever fine music is sold.
Tinariwen – “Amous Idraout Assouf d’Alwa”
Tamikrest – “Warktifed”
Ibrahim Djo Experience – “Blues du Désert [part 1]”
Faris & Terakaft – “Derhan Alkher”
Nabil Baly Othmani – “Teswa Ténéré [desert version]”
Amanar – “Ténéré”
Tadalat – “Taghdart”
Etran Finatawa – “Gourma”
Terakaft – “Nak Essanagh”
Toumast – “Aïtma”
Bombino – “Tigrawahi Tikma [live version]”
Tartit – “Tihou Beyatene”