Womad - The World’s Festival

Change to Tinariwen line-up due to conflict in Mali

29 Feb 2012

Two members of the Grammy-Award winning band, Tinariwen, are no longer able to perform at WOMADelaide on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 March due to a dramatic escalation in the conflicts between the MLNA (Mouvement de Liberation National Azawad) and the Malian Government army in the drought and famine-stricken region of north Mali in which they live.

“Tinariwen’s management have confirmed that, unfortunately, only four out of the six musicians have been able to make it out of the region to Tamanrasset in Algeria for their onward flights,“ said Ian Scobie, WOMADelaide Director.

“The band’s tour to Hong Kong, Australia and NZ has been confirmed for many months however this is simply a situation beyond everyone’s control. It’s disappointing for us of course but, more importantly, we hope that the musicians and their families remain safe.” said Mr Scobie.

This latest uprising by the Touaregs against the Malian government is related to their ongoing demand for autonomy. It has already seen many people die and 130,000 refugees displaced since mid January.

The two musicians who cannot come on tour, Ibrahim Ag Alhabib (one of the band’s founders, on vocals, guitar, flute, acoustic guitar) and Elaga Al Hamid (vocals, guitar), remain in a precarious situation. Tinariwen’s management added that Ag Alhabib is sheltering in a refugee camp near the Algerian border with other refugees and is unable to get out using his vehicle because they are caught between the MLNA rebels and the Malian Army crossfire.

In a show of support, members of Lo’Jo (France) will join Tinariwen on stage for their WOMADelaide shows. The bands have known each other for over a decade and co-founded the renowned Festival au Desert in Mali in 2001.

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