Mali, Adrar des Ifoghas
The Essouk festival is a three-day celebration of music and culture, aimed largely at a local audience of nomads, but also at festivalgoers from other parts of Mali, Africa and the world.
The festival covers a wide range of cultural disciplines including music, literature, dance, tifinar calligraphy, crafts, traditional techniques and know-how. Another important aspect of the festival is the discussion forums covering social, cultural, political and developmental issues.
The musical programme will comprise about ten groups from all over the southern Sahara, and another five groups from Europe. The aim of the festival is to attract up to two thousand local participants and two or three hundred outside visitors, including journalists, radio and TV personnel, artists and tourists.
‘The Saharan Nights of Essouk' are dedicated to the poet-guitarists of the ishumar generation, typified by the group Tinariwen, but also to the more traditional groups of the Saharan region who embody the richness of the Touareg musical heritage. Plans are underway to film and record the festival with a view to securing international broadcasts and CD / DVD / Download releases. This part of the project is intimately connected to one of Taghreft Tinariwen's other major projects: the Touareg Cultural Centre, and notably to the creation of a mobile recording studio based in Kidal.
Other Festival activities will include:
A tifinar workshop
A salon of Saharan literature
Guided tours to the ruins of Essouk and other parts of the Adrar des Iforhas
Aims and Objectives of the Festival
They are many and varied, but realistic and attainable:
- To raise awareness about Touareg culture and share it with as wide an audience as possible in
- order to promote it more effectively
- To help preserve Mali's physical and social heritage
- To campaign for recognition of the ancient ruins of Essouk-Tadamakat as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- To promote and preserve the ancient libyco-berber alphabets (tifinar)
- To focus on the economic and social development of the Kidal region in order to achieve a better integration into the Malian nation.
- To revive traditional arts and crafts and support their modern application