Like the Blues? Check Out the Music of Mali

align="right" src="http://www.gadling.com/media/2006/04/mali.jpg" alt="" />The New York Times is currently 
featuring a fascinating article about
the music of Mali
, a small country in Africa.  Author Joshua Hammer toured various towns in Mali, from tiny
nightspots to wedding receptions, learning about the history of the music of Mali.  Interestingly, some say Mali
is the birthplace of American blues:

Lobi Traoré [a local Mali musician] is not the
first musician to cite parallels between the music of the Mississippi Delta and that of the Niger River. The late Ali
Farka Touré, a Sorhai who grew up on the banks of the Niger south of Timbuktu, once said that the American blues
were born along his bend in the river. Robert Plant found similarities between the assouf music of the Tuaregs and
American blues when he played at the Festival of the Desert near Timbuktu in 2003, one of several multiple-day outdoor
concerts that draw thousands to Mali each year.

It’s a great article.  And if, perchance, you find
yourself called by the siren song of the music of Mali, the article also features tips on where to stay, and how to find
this beautiful music.  A trip to Mali not in your financial plans?  Never fear: you can always pick up a CD by
Toumani Diabete (shown in the picture above), who won a Grammy this year for Best Traditional World Music Album, or, in
the alternative, check out these href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/02/travel/02music.html?_r=1&oref=slogin">ten albums of contemporary Malian
music, courtesy of the Times.