A whole galaxy of female artists and singers of West Africa are currently gathered in the capital of Mali for the Fifth Annual Voices of Bamako Festival (18-22 January)–a forum for celebrating African women and traditional African arts, as well as for discussing various topics related to women’s issues. The Festival, which was initiated by Malian singer Fantani Touré, is organized by the Kolomba (Great Well) Association, of which she is the president.
Women artists and singers from Guinea, Senegal, Burkina Faso and many other West African countries join forces in this annual cultural event to confront major concerns such as female genital mutilation, AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The Festival is also an opportunity to promote environmental protection, education for females and women’s rights in general.
This year’s program features concerts by both well-known singers and emerging talent, theater performances, dances, story-telling and craft displays–all held in the streets of Bamako. Talks are offered by experts on health/hygiene and environmental issues so as to provide women with the information they need to understand situations and take appropriate action.