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  • by Trevor Loveday

Top West African band becomes ambassador for WaterAid

One of Mali’s most popular bands, Songhoy Blues, has become an ambassador for WaterAid.

WaterAid said the band has supported the charity for many years, helping it to raise money for its lifesaving work to bring clean water, decent toilets, and good hygiene to communities in the world’s poorest places.

The band in December 2020 performed in WaterAid’s three-day, online music event, the Bathroom Sessions, which brought together musicians from all over the world to perform from their bathrooms to raise money for the Future on Tap appeal. This winter, WaterAid aims to raise £3m to transform lives with clean water across the world. The UK government will match public donations before 4 February 2021, up to £2 million.

In Mali, three in five people do not have a decent toilet, and over four million – one third of the population – do not have clean water.

In celebration of its members’ Malian identity and pride in the nation's rich culture, the band has worked with WaterAid on a series of portraits from the studio of Malian photographer, Malick Sidibé.

Band Songhoy Blues supports WaterAid
Garba Touré (left) and Oumar Touré in Malick Sidibé's studio, Bamako, Mali. April 2018. Photograph by Sidibé's, son Kalim.

In the photo shoot, Songhoy Blues band members Garba Touré, Oumar Touré and Aliou Touré (all unrelated) recreate some of Sidibé’s famed black and white photos that recorded the vibrant culture in Mali’s capital, Bamako following the country’s independence from France in 1960. A short film about Songhoy Blues featuring some of its desert blues sound, its support for WaterAid and the photo shoot can be viewed HERE .

Mali is one of the hottest places on Earth, with land stretching far into the Sahara desert. Half of its people live in poverty, and finding water is a constant concern.


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