By Kemo Cham
Baaba Maal, the lead vocal and founder of the music group, Dande Lenol, has invited heads of music festivals held in the sub-region to come together and create connections among them with the view of enabling musicians to be present at their various events.
Speaking on Friday November 20th, at Lompoul (Kébémer), at the first Festival of the Sahel, the Senegalese artist emphasized the need to connect the festivals of the desert of Mali, Niger and the ”River Blues” to allow African musicians to get closer to their audience.
”The African musicians who travel to attend festivals in Europe, America and Asia would benefit enormously by for example a month tour of cultural events of the first order,” argued Baba Maal.
The festival is organized by Sahel Africa Travel Tour and Sahel discovery.
Noting the beauty of the home of the Festival du Sahel, held in the sand dunes of the desert of Lompoul, the artistic composer acknowledged that the event was open to people of the village, and promotes the area as a tourist destination.
”We initiated this festival held in the golden dunes of the desert Lompoul to try to change the negative perception about the people of the Sahel, which is actually a treasure of beauty and diversity,” said the festival director, Raphael Rodriguez.
”We will work to make this cultural event to be the largest annual African music event,” he promised.
Jean Jacques Bancal, another proponent member of the organizers, spoke about the uniqueness of the Festival of the Sahel.
”The impact is already visible in the community because 90 villagers working around the festival on tents, beds, food products are locals,” he said, adding that the event will also go a long way in offering the people of the African Sahel the right to speak, have fun, to party away from the usual problems.
”The support of Accelerated Growth Strategy (CDS) at the Festival du Sahel is a challenge that we face in participating in the promotion of the tourist destination of Senegal to boost economic growth,” said a representative of the Senegalese government on the ground, Ibrahima Wade.
The first Festival of the Sahel, which ended the following Sunday, also served as a platform of expression and sharing of emotions of a number of other musicians, like Abdoulaye Cissokho, Habib Koite of Mali and Niger’s Etran Finatawa.
By Kemo Cham