The CJSR Edition: The Day the Music Died In Northern Mali

For the past 50 years the country of of Mali have been witness to levels of hardship perhaps not felt in any other country in the world.

For several decades after independence from France in 1960, Mali suffered droughts, rebellions, a coup, and 23-years of military dictatorship until democratic elections in 1992.

And then, just as the political and social situation was improving,. in the early months of 2012 a dark part of the country’s history flared up once again when ethnic discontent in the region was co-opted by islamist militants operating in the region.

Suddenly, everything hung in the balance. Even music — which is held in such high regard that it seemed immune to the political travails that eroded just about everything else during Mali’s post-colonial era — even music was on the chopping block when islamist militants declared a ban on music in the northern parts of the country.

But In a country like Mali — where music is the major source of transmission of intergenerational knowledge needed for the development of a positive cultural identity and the retention of culture in an increasingly globalized world — it’s hard to fathom how prodigious an impact the banning of music has had on the collective psyche of the West African nation.

On this episode of the CJSR Edition, we trace the historical importance of music in Mali and then go on to ask the question: Can a country survive without music?