Proverbs From Mali...They Travel Well

This weekend I dug through some old files, looking for something I suddenly needed again. I found what I needed, but only after getting very distracted by something else. That something else was a small project an intern last year -- Salifou -- created. Salifou is a student here in the U.S., but he is from Mali. He gathered and shared some Malian proverbs for an event we were planning. I dusted the project off for today's blog because I'm betting you'll find them as much fun as I do.

What's In a Name?

It’s halfway through my Malian trip and I found myself in the rural village of Lofine. Mali Rising’s team is tucked away under the shade of a huge gnarled tree for the opening of a new school. The ceremony is chaotic, but beautiful. There were traditional dances intertwined through speeches of the village dignitaries as well as the board members of Mali Rising.I slowly lost interest during the painstaking translations from English to Bambara and reverted to studying the faces of those in the large crowd circled around us.

Can't Travel to Mali? Three Films That Take You There

I really wish we could take all of you with us to Mali. You'd have a wonderful time, get a little hot and dusty, and never be quite the same. But it's a long and expensive trip, and you probably don't have much vacation time. So, here are 3 films that can take you there for just a few hours.

5 Things You (Probably) Don't Know About Mali

Mali is an amazing country, full of color and life. However, those of us in western countries tend to know very little about Mali. When I started this job, I could amaze people with the simple fact that Timbuktu is located in Mali.  Here are five other things you probably didn't know about Mali...

Enter the Modern Music of Mali

By Salifou Fofana, Mali Rising Intern

We all have our gateway when facing stress or difficult time in life. While for some people it is going on a hike, cry, or scream it out, my favorite thing to do when I am under pressure or facing an important moment is to put my headphones on and listen to my favorite artist Sidiki Diabate. 

While Sidiki Diabate is unknown for some of you, he is one of the hottest artists in Africa now. He sings different types of genre on different types of traditional instruments. The reason I like to listen to his songs before taking an exam or when I feel like procrastinating my homework, or even when I am concern about my future is because his songs awaken my conscience and remind me of where I come from, and why I came to the United States in the first place. 

The other reason I love listening to Sidiki Diabate is that it makes me proud to see my fellow citizen having such a success worldwide and representing my country at the Grammys. Because of him, many people are starting to know more about our music and learn that we have a long history of African music.

His hit song “fais moi confiance”, with more than 10 million views on YouTube is a beautiful love song with dancing rhythm at the same time. In this song he asks his love to trust him and not get mad. My favorite song of his is “Douaou diabira”, which means in Bambara prayer has payed. In this song, he talks about how he was expelled from the art school of Bamako because he only has 9 fingers instead of ten. He thanks God and his parents for helping him to become a renowned musician with only nine fingers. 

I think what people like about his music is that they can relate to his songs. We have all once lived a passionate love. We have all overcome a difficulty, we had never thought to overcome if it were not for god. So, if you want to find yourself a new gateway, or feel the need to dance on a new song you have never heard I suggest you to listen to Sidiki Diabate. I promise you! You are going to fall in love with songs.

Here are several other links to some of his famous songs: 

Fais Moi Confiance

Douaou Djabira