Christmas comes early this year. And if you are good girls and boys, you will now do whatever you must to get your hands on a great present: "Nomad," 40 minutes of music by an African guitarist who's called Bombino.
Fifty years after it became independent, Mali has still to rely on its former colonial ruler to keep the country intact. But France no longer has the appetite nor the resources to play a colonial role. Hollande is having a hell of a time just attempting to rule his own restive nation.
What does this mean for us? Well, it's both good and bad. It's good because the extreme ideology of the group likely contributed to its downfall in Mali. It's bad because calls for pragmatism -- which would moderate its more severe violence -- may fall short.
France will shortly be engaged in rebuilding Mali, a country twice the size of Texas. Does the U.S. really want to join in another nation-building exercise, in a Muslim country, on a continent where Americans are not welcome?
The disfavor for intervention among American politicians and the public is understandable and a good restraint. But occasionally making a stand against atrocity and extremism, particularly when it's in danger of spreading, is a worthy goal for a great power. Mali just might be the place.
Despite the militant occupation in the north which bans the creation and enjoyment of music (even Tuareg music is banned in Tuareg land), and despite the widespread shortage of food and water, musicians will continue to sing.
Despite formally handing over power on April 12, however, the junta continued to arrest opponents and still wields considerable influence. Scattered fighting between rival armed forces erupted in the capital last week.
Long live Africa's newest state. After three weeks of fraught interactions between nomadic pastoralists, the Tuareg, and Malian government, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad has declared independence from the rest of Mali.
The OohLaLA Festival sashayed onto the scene for a third installment of its French musical showcase. The festival featured a diverse lineup of contemporary talent, each exuding a certain je ne sais quoi.