Max Fisher writes: When Islamist extremists took over the northern half of Mali, an African country that is economically poor but rich in culture, one of their more barbaric impositions was to ban music. To understand why this has been so painful for Malians, why The Post’s Sudarsan Raghavan called it “a shattering of their culture” after visiting the country, you have to listen to the music yourself.
Now that French forces have intervened militarily to stop the rebels’ advance, opening what could potentially be a protracted conflict in Mali, it’s worth hearing the music at the heart of this country’s culture, if you haven’t already. Teju Cole, a Nigerian-American novelist whom I once had the pleasure of editing, tweeted out a 10-track playlist of Malian music last year. I’ve embedded the songs and reproduced his commentary here.
After listening to a few of these, you’ll understand why the country is considered “one of the richest reservoirs of music on the continent,” as Raghavan wrote, why the music has found such success in the West, and perhaps a small part of what makes the Islamists’ rule so painful.
See the rest of Fisher’s post to hear Cole’s selection of music from Mali.
Over the last two years, I’ve posted quite a lot of Malian music, so here it all is again in one post: