Malian Music in Exile

Music was considered Mali's best-known cultural work before a complete ban on the artform by Islamic jihadists. On Nov. 1 and 2, a pair of programs at the University of Dayton will shine a light on how the West African nation's legendary music-making has been targeted and suppressed.

ArtsLIVE, the University’s cultural presenting organization, is partnering with the University of Dayton Human Rights Center to feature a documentary film and concert to raise awareness of the precarious state of music in Mali, which threatens the country’s freedom of speech and creativity. Both programs are open to the public.

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, the new documentary film, They Will Have to Kill Us First: Malian Music in Exile, will be shown at 7:30 p.m. in the Sears Recital Hall of the University’s Jesse Philips Humanities Center. Described by The New York Times as “a vibrant testimony of resilience,” the 90-minute film follows the stories of several musicians in northern Mali as they fight to keep music alive in the aftermath of the ban on music by Islamic jihadists. The film presentation is free and will be introduced by Heather MacLachlan, an associate professor in the department of music, who is a world music scholar.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 8 p.m., ArtsLIVE will showcase the Malian music of Trio Da Kali in Sears Recital Hall. Trio Da Kali is a newly-formed ensemble of outstanding musicians from the Mande culture of southern Mali. Featuring voice, ngoni (a traditional stringed instrument) and balafon (an ancient type of xylophone), Trio Da Kali is on their first tour of the U.S. This is their only scheduled appearance in Ohio.

During the past decade, ArtsLIVE has shared Mali’s musical heritage by presenting some of the country’s best musicians, including Mamadou Diabate in 2003; Vieux Farka Touré in 2007; Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba in 2011; Fatoumata Diawara in 2012; and Sekou Kouyate with Joe Driscoll in 2014.

Trio Da Kali features Mamadou Kouyate, the eldest son of Bassekou Kouyate. The group also includes Hawa Kasse Mady Diabate (vocals) and Lassana Diabate (balafon).

Tickets for Trio Da Kali are $16 general admission; $12 for seniors, military, and University faculty, staff and alumni; and $8 for students. For group discounts, contact Eileen Carr at ecarr1@udayton.edu. Advance tickets are available by calling the University Box Office at 937-229-2545 or visiting the website at http://go.udayton.edu/artslive. If available, tickets will also be sold at the door. Parking is free.

More information about both programs is available at http://go.udayton.edu/artslive

- Eileen Carr, ArtsLIVE coordinator

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