Text by Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi
I just found out that my friend and music colleague Salif Keita released a new album Talé on Universal Rec. Recently he was interviewed on Mali TV “Droit Libre”, in which he expressed his anger and disgust of the Malian government how they run the country. He also can’t accept the fact that musicians aren’t respected in Mali. They can’t live from their music and are exploited by the black market. Because of being mad at the political situation in his country and the miserable living conditions of musicians in Mali, he decided to retire from the music business! He wants to go back to his village and work their as a farmer. But before his retirement he still wants to play a couple of concerts.
If you ask me whether I can’t believe him. My answer is NO. I think he didn’t mean that. Becoming a farmer? That’s rediculous. I don’t want him to do something he can’t do. If he cares for his people and his country his job is to do his part as a musician to clean up the mess in his country. I’m very sure that his fans need him now more than ever. Now is the time that he shows what he stands for. He became a great musician and also rich because of their love and support. There was a time that he wanted to become a senator because he believed that he could become a positive force in the Malian political scene. I played my sax for him because I believed in him as a responsible man. A man who cares about his band, family and country. No, no and another no…I just hope that he has already changed his mind and talks about continuing playing. Because if he retires I wouldn’t try to see him again and play music in his village.
The interview (in French)
Salif, please proof that you and your music can achieve a change for the good in your country. And I would support you with my horn as usually.
(Note: if he really retires, please don’t by his CDs! Because I don’t want to promote him with this post.)