In contrast to its locale, landscaped with sand dunes and rugged terrain, the region near the remote village of Essakane, Mali is no cultural desert. This is the home of one of the world’s most unique musical events, Festival in the Desert, held annually every January.
Located two hours from Timbuktu, a city that is often identified as a place faraway and unreachable, the area welcomes visitors who journey from distant lands to experience a mixture of culture, history and the arts.
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About Festival in the Desert in Essakane, Mali
Although the Festival in the Desert began in 2001, its origins are rooted in the rich Tuareg history that dates back to several centuries. Many Tuaregs gather from surrounding areas to sell their merchandise, including camels and other pertinent items for the desert. However, it is not only about business, visitors are treated to Tuareg games, camel races, and displays of poetic and dancing skills.
Since its inception, the festival has grown tremendously, attracting renowned Western artists, such as Jimmy Buffet, Robert Plant and Led Zepplin. Famous local artists, including Toumani Diabate, Habib Koite, Baba Salah, Bassekou Kouyate and his wife Ami Sacko, along with the late great Ali Farka Toure have been headliners.
This exotic festival has also featured many acts from around the West African region playing instruments designed by ancient artisans. Among these popular artists have been Sekouba Bambino from Guinea and the group Saharawi from Western Sahara.
Accommodations are provided in basic tents for visitors who feast on African cuisine prepared on site by Saharan chefs, who often bring their live goats destined for the dinner table. This is all a part of the unique cultural experience of this three day festival.
Art and culture lovers from all over the world are now making plans to attend the extraordinary event, Festival in the Desert 2009, from January 8 through 10.
For more information on Festival in the Desert, please visit: http://palacetravel.com .