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Mali: “Music from vegetables”

Mali: “Music from vegetables”

Kathie Neal reflects on her time spent on location in Mali for ‘Our Africa’. Here, she tells how she stumbled upon an every day scene which will stay with her forever.

"Mali is all about Mangos and music, making the most of what nature provides!  You can enjoy the fabulously plentiful fruit and make music from the vegetables!  Instruments like the Balafon and the Kora are made from calabash gourds, and everyone has some sort of instrument, as music is integral to the Mali life. 

Above all, Mali people are very comfortable in their own skin and have a certain serenity that engenders a calm atmosphere.   So, it wasn't surprising to happen onto a scene that felt like I had stepped into a microcosm of complete peace, where all the prisms had aligned, and there was total harmony;  Watching this Our Africa Mali Koramother rhythmically sifting rice with her children buzzing around her while she sang and  patiently picked out unwanted grains of rice.  In the background were her other children improvising on the balafon and gouni while another added to the rhythm with his drum - everyone harmoniously in motion together."

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Beyond the famine, drought and conflict which dominate the headlines, Africa has so much to offer. We sent children from all over Africa out into their communities, armed with a flip-cam, and asked them to record what matters to them. What they came back with blew us all away – but you'll have to check our Our Africa yourself to find out why!

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