Over the weekend, more short messages from Chris Nolan at the Festival in the Desert in Timbuktu have been arriving. Here they are:
“Several thousand people have entered the city for the Festival au Desert 2012 bringing much needed life to this City of 333 Saints. 300 westerners braved the journey and will be unique witnesses to this incredible show. But when we arrived, the economic crunch caused by recent travel bans was clearly evident. With the success of the Festival au Desert, a much needed boost is evident. Everyone in the region is excited and welcoming.”
“Absolutely spellbinding set from the Mauretanian singing sensation, Noura Mint Seymani.”
"Toinight, appearing onstage in Timbuktu: Bono will be performing with Tinariwen! Bono is here with a delegation of 20 people from the One Foundation. Last night he sat in the VIP section between the Minister of Culture and Minister of Tourism and Arts, at one point everyone got up and danced with the crowd.
“Bono just did a 15 minute song with Tinariwen and Bassekou Koyate. "Viva la music du desert!". A stadium anthem for the 5000 people gathered here filling this bowl in the dunes of the Sahara just outside Timbuktu.”
“Atri n'Assouf plays an anthem rock high energy with pride and power filled with positive energy. They bringing an uplift to everyone's spirit after the hardships brought to this region by crime and violence. Everyone is really getting into the party. “
“There is a huge crowd for closing of these three days and the anticipation that led up to them. It’s packed with people between the sound booth and the stage. Atri n'Assouf have a mosh pit going in front of the stage. Their strong voices and performance bring a celebration into the air. The rolling rhythms get everyone dancing. This is a great band with real depth. Led by Rhissa ag Wanagli and Koudede, tonight they sport a crew of 5 guys singing backup and a young female dancer. All is held in place by bass, djembe and trap drum set.”
“The prime minister just gave her closing speech praising the Festival and its vital role in the north of Mali for economic development and cultural preservation. Festival goers from 60 countries made the trip, braved the route and arrived to the warm hospitality of Mali and especially the North of Mali. Representatives from each country were invited onstage for a family photo. Tonight, new discoveries and familiar superstars will continue to enthrall the audience: Oumar Konate, Habib Koite, Noura Mint Seymali, Bassekou Koyate, Vieux Farka Toure, Mamoudou Kelly, Tartit, and many more.”