Mali’s traditional lifestyle is rapidly disappearing, displaced by urban culture and yearnings, or devalued by new economical necessities and desires. This shift in demographics and economics has affected the value placed on Mali’s cultural and musical traditions (musical instruments, artisans, songs and oratory, and dance) and these are rapidly being lost. The repositories of these traditions ( elders, artisans, musicians, dancers, healers) have no one to whom these precious artifacts can be transmitted.
The goal of “Instruments 4 Africa” (501c3) is to preserve traditional music arts and the structures which support it. This living cultural history is of enormous importance to anthropologists, ethnomusicologists, as well as for modern artists. However, these traditions are valuable not only to outsiders, but are of inestimable value for Malians themselves. They offer revenue potential in developing and publicizing these forms, and can provide an anchoring force as well for young Malians weathering the dramatic shifts inherent in modernization taking place in their country.