tales of exile

Ahmed's guitar band Amanar takes their name from the constellation Orion; by virtue of an old story, one of many about a great Tamashek warrior by the same name. As the story goes, Amanar, an grand and imposing figure, accidentally bumped into a woman milking her goats to feed her…

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#occupyazawad

The flag of the independent autonomous region of Azawad is a variation on the green, yellow, and red found across the continent. But for the inclusion of black. It recalls the flag of Palestine, an ally at least in a similar struggle for statehood against an overpowering military foe. It's…

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digital bamako

If you want to buy mp3s in any West African city, you first must find the cellphone market. The main hub of cellphones, used, new, real, and knockoff, in Bamako is the street next to the Malitel building. Men at laptops line the streetside behind glass display cases of cellphones.…

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wassa-low

photo by Kyle Mijlof Bamako sits in a valley, the river slicing through the city. It's a fascinating and easy place compared to the other metropolises, but for the perpetual haze drifting over the water, smoke spewing from the chinese motorbikes screaming back and forth over the bridges, the ramshackle…

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Saphire D’Or

Ahmed Vall operates a small record store in Nouakchott, Mauritania. It's called the "Saphire D'Or", but there's no sign, and the name isn't displayed anywhere -- save the records themselves, a faded stamp amidst the mold eaten, dusty stacks. A pair of double metal doors exit the blinding, exhaust choked…

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sahel tour 2012

Off to West Africa, heading into Mali, Niger, and N. Nigeria. Over the next months expect some new Bamako Electro-Balani, Sonrai Hip Hop, and Bollywood Hausa Film music. Plus some live Bamako -> Portland collabo's via Skype. We'll be kicking it off with a little party on Friday, Jan. 6th…

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