L.I.N. – The Constant

February 08, 2013 / by / 1 Comment

This is what I believe to be true. We human beings need a constant, which can be in any kind of form, in order to stay relatively sane. Some have an object, let’s say a lucky charm, to make this person feel that they are safeguarded from all sorts of evil misfortune that will drag their spirits till they reach insanity. Others have living-beings like fellow homo sapiens or pets. For many, the constant is less tangible.

(I looked up what comes and goes for fun and of course the best source for such inquiries is Yahoo! Answers. I especially liked this one. Question: What comes and goes? Answer: Husbands). 

Mali, located in the northern West part of Africa, is a blooming center for musical flair on the continent. It’s bred artists such as Ali Farka Touré, Boubacar Traoré, Oumou Sangare and of course the blind duo Amadou & Mariam. Last year however, much of the country was silenced as militants and religious extremists took over the northern part. Many artists had to flee to the south or neighboring countries, and within the occupied regions instruments and musical equipments were destroyed. For a country like Mali in which music plays an integral part of the country’s culture and society, the Sharia ban on music was especially harsh.

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” – Plato

If you’ve followed the news, you’ll know that things have started to turn around for the country. French troops have managed to push out the militants and extremists out of the major cities, but stability is yet to be restored. The situation in Mali struck me harder than I had anticipated. Firstly, one of my closest friends from back in the middle school days was from Mali and secondly I couldn’t stop thinking about what it would feel like to lose your constant. In an article by the Guardian, the writer Andy Morgan interviews a Malian musician and producer who had this to say:

“Music regulates the life of every Malian. From the cradle to the grave. From ancient times right up to today. A Mali without music? No … I mean … give me another one!”  - read more at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/23/mali-militants-declare-war-music

Arts and music have been my personal constants. My family has nurtured and blessed me with sounds from all over the world since the beginning, and as I grew older, seeking for different types of noises became an obsessive hobby. Also, when I plug into my earphones, I feel safe and comforted. But what if I lost the luxury to press that play button? And then I’m imagining this on a greater scale: the implications of taking away a constant source that unites a community through joy and pride…

This episode’s playlist: Listening to International Noise:One for Mali

All artists below are from Mali, with the exception of Manu Chao.

  1. M’bife Balafon – Amadou & Mariam
  2. Bissa – Fatoumata Diawara
  3. Dounia – Rokia Troaré
  4. Cler Achel – Tinariwen
  5. Kuma – Salif Keitai
  6. Sénégal Fast Food – Amoudou & Mariam, feat. Manu Chao

Also, wishing everyone a happy Chinese New Year! May the year of the snake open your horizons to mesmerizing experiences and hypnotic sounds!

Enjoy lovelies.