Mali's Festival in the Desert Wins a Freedom of Musical Expression Award

The World

Audience at the Festival in the Desert near Timbuktu, Mali, 2012 (Photo: WikiCommons/Alfred Weidinger)

Mali's annual Festival in the Desert began in 2001 as a way to showcase Malian music – but is also drew global stars like Robert Plant and Bono. This year, though, because of the war, the festival was canceled. Still, the Festival in the Desert and its Malian Touareg leader Manny Ansar were honored Wednesday with the Freemuse Award. It's given each year by a Denmark-based group to an individual or organization that "has worked for freedom of musical expression in a remarkable way." Manny Ansar talks about the situation in Mali, and his work on the festival over the past decade.
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