Malian singer and guitarist Afel Bocoum was joined in Mali by Damon Albarn for a unique music project to draw attention to Mali’s growing humanitarian crisis and to the food crisis across the Sahel region of West and Central Africa. The Mali Music Unplugged trip for Oxfam included a special performance from the album Mali Music, and a performance of a completely new track. More than 18 million people in nine countries are threatened by food shortages, including 1 million children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. In Mali itself, 4.6 million people are affected — 1.6 million of them in northern Mali, where insecurity and violence are making access for humanitarian organisations extremely difficult. This conflict has forced around 370,000 people to flee their homes in the north. Around 200,000 are seeking refuge in neighbouring countries – that are also experiencing serious food shortages –and 170,000 are displaced within Mali.
For more on the Sahel crisis – and to donate to Oxfam’s relief effort – visit sahel2012.org and you can see a short film here http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/news/damon-albarn-visits-mali-for-oxfam