Leila Gobi & Mamadou Kelly Lead Mali's Call for Peaceful Dialogue
Leila Gobi, Mamadou Kelly
War can't stop the music. Malian artists continue to practice their art despite upheaval and violence that delayed The Festival au Desert in Timbuktu indefinitely. Following a successful Part I tour through the Southwest and East Coast in July, Caravan For Peace returns to the US for a second tour, featuring Malian songstress Leila Gobi and desert blues guitarist/vocalist Mamadou Kelly.
The Festival in the Desert has featured everyone from rock idols to Saharan nomads. Now it is coming to several U.S. cities in September. Stops include Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York City, and Washington, DC.
The Caravan will shine a light on two of Mali's greatest contributions to the world's music, Mamadou Kelly and Leila Gobi, both revealing deep and gritty roots of the Saharan music scene and the striking musicianship of Mali's beleaguered artists.
Mamadou Kelly made a name for himself by playing with greats like the late Malian blues legend Ali Farka Toure. He was forced to flee Niafunke for Bamako after the occupation of northern Mali in 2012 and the imposition of sharia that banned music in his home town, but he continues to develop his solo career. A virtuosic acoustic guitar player, Kelly has an encyclopedic knowledge of Malian music, as well as lightning-fast technique and a soulful, bluesy voice. Mamadou releases a new album, Adibar, on September 17.
Leila Gobi was born in Menaka, Northern Mali and comes from conservative Tuareg family. Like many female performers from Mali, her family pressured her to marry and grow a family instead of build a music career. Somehow, she chose both. She created her own group in 2010 and has released 2 albums in her own name: 'Ménaka' and 'Peace'. She is currently working on a third. Gobi plays several instruments: guitar, djembe, balafon and the Tamacheq tinde. She sings in several languages of Mali: Tamacheq, Songhaï, Peulh, Bambara, and French.