The Festival in the Desert at Essakane near Timbuktu has become justifiably renowned (see www.festival-au-desert.org) But what is less well known is that there are MANY festivals in the desert. One of the rootsiest and most entrancing takes place in the ancient ruined city of Essouk, north of Kidal in the far northeast of Mali. Under the title of ?The Saharan Nights of Essouk?, the Essouk Festival was started by a group of local Touareg leaders, including musicians from Tinariwen, in order to promote their native Adrar des Iforas region. This remote mountain range is one of the most beautiful and culturally rich parts of the Sahara.
IF YOU?RE KEEN TO EXPERIENCE THE GENUINE THRILL OF THE DESERT THEN THE SAHARAN NIGHTS OF ESSOUK ARE FOR YOU.
The Festival wil take place over three days in a beautiful desert plain, surrounded by the dark hills of the Adrar, not far from the ruined city of Essouk. The line-up of attractions gives pride of place to desert musicians and artists. Groups from Libya, Algeria, Niger and other parts of Mali will be there. There will also be musicians and street performers from France.
TINARIWEN WILL BE PERFORMING ON EACH NIGHT OF THE FESTIVAL. THIS IS THEIR ONLY DESERT FESTIVAL APPEARANCE IN 2006.
The music forms only a part of the attraction of the Festival. Also featured will be camel parades, traditional tindÈ drum sessions, debates, workshops, hockey on sand, a crafts fair and a tent village. And to top it all ADMISSION IS FREE.
Essouk puts an emphasis on simplicity, tradition, hospitality and pride in desert culture.
For more information go to www.kidal.info/ESSOUK (the pages are in French but English information will be added shortly).
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For an English information sheet on the Essouk Festival, with details about the event, the programme, travel in Mali, visas, health etc etc, please reply to this mail and write ?MORE INFORMATION? in the Subject Box of your mail header