Escaping state interference and forced marriage, the charismatic singer-songwriter and rock guitarist Fatoumata Diawara fled from Mali to Paris as a teenager with a passion for acting and music. However, she remains passionately committed to the culture of her native country.
Until the 19th century, the Malian city of Timbuktu on the southern edge of the Sahara was a haven of scholarship and an important cultural hub. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988. Thousands of manuscripts and books that are up to 600 years old were stored in the city, preserving the history and heritage of West Africa.
When radical Islamists from the north of the country attacked the city in 2012 to destroy these cultural relics, they were saved in large part by courageous locals. These artefacts are now stored in the capital Bamako and are being digitised and catalogued by Google in collaboration with various foundations and institutions.
At the Konzerthaus, Fatoumata Diawara and her band will be performing songs from her EP “Maliba”. They form the soundtrack of the Google Arts and Culture presentation “Mali Magic & Timbuktu Manuscripts”, which depicts the story of the rescue and reconstitution of the ancient manuscripts.