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Festival In the Desert
Festival In the Desert
Actors: Robert Plant, Ali Farka Tour, Justin Adams
Director: Lionel Brouet
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts
NR     2004     1hr 4min

Throwing an enormous Woodstock-style music festival in the middle of the Sahara desert--the gorgeous photos included in the booklet to Festival in the Desert make clear--isn't exactly easy. Held during the last three yea...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Robert Plant, Ali Farka Tour, Justin Adams
Director: Lionel Brouet
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Pop, International
Studio: World Village USA
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 10/12/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 4min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
Edition: Import
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: French

Movie Reviews

Trance grooves, proto blues, and more....
rudiger | Hoople, ND | 01/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It seems like an unlikely concept: "Let's have a music festival in one of the most remote, inhospitable places on earth!" But that's exactly what happened in the Sahara Desert back in January 2003, drawing together a few dozen musicians from host-country Mali, neighboring Mauritania, and even a few from France, the US, and the UK. Had Robert Plant not been among the latter contingent, the event would likely have attracted little attention outside rarified "world music" circles. But there he was, nestled amid the dunes and jamming with the locals, and fortunately somebody was able to get a CD made of all this."FESTIVAL" features just one track apiece from Plant and 19 other artists who took part in this 3-day patch of improbability, though they each performed whole sets. (Several other groups who also took part according to the notes don't appear on the CD at all.) So it's a highly varied collection, but somehow the different hues all blend together. Plant's featured contribution, "Win My Train Fare Home," is a bluesy number quite in keeping with the tone of the festival. Malian pop stars like Oumou Sangare, Ali Farka Toure and Adama Yalomba are interspersed with lesser known locals, many of them Toureg desert-dwellers, as well as a handful of non-African groups. It's been said that the blues can be traced back to Mali, and musicians like Ali Farka have capitalized on this legend by inflecting their songs with sounds inspired by American blues greats (John Lee Hooker in particular). Maybe that case has been overstated somewhat--if he sounds like John Lee, it's probably due more to his collection of American blues records than to a primeval connection that survived the Middle Passage. Nevertheless, from the music on this disc it's obvious that rock and blues have plenty in common with West African music. It may not float every Led Zep fan's boat, but it's a fine collection of songs from a very unlikely place."
Sounds and styles are all over the board!
WorldDiscoveries.Net | Petaluma, California | 08/29/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Billed as the 'Woodstock of the Sahara' and other names, FESTIVAL IN THE DESERT's various artists are unified by one thing: participation in a 2003 desert ethnic music fest sixty kilometers northwest of Timbuktu in Mali.
 Its organization - a non-government association of international world councils and unions - includes such diverse groups as Tinariwen, Robert Plant, Ali Farka Toure, Omou Sangare, and more: so don't expect a uniformity of sound or theme in FESTIVAL IN THE DESERT 2003's production: sounds and styles are all over the board.
 This is the place to hear new groups; from the renowned band LoJo to the UK answer to Ry Cooder in Justin Adams.
 The live recording is clean and clear enough that little is lost in fidelity due to audience participation: so if it's twenty diverse cuts of African music from across the continent that's needed as an introduction to some of the best artists of modern times, don't miss FESTIVAL IN THE DESERT 2003 - or future yearly productions to come.
Midnight at the Oasis comes to Life
Laurel Skye | California | 04/09/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I rented this yesterday and after viewing, ran to my computer to try and buy one to own. There is the mystique of the desert alone that is captivating and the fusion of the North African/ West African influences, the French and American, well it is too exotic for words. The Navejo, the blues and the African rhythms all coming together under the open skies with goats & camels. Reggae on the River has nothing on this festival. I only wish it had been longer. Trying to do a DVD of such an event and capturing it all, I'm sure was challenging. It was a great "sampling" of talent, but as a "music" video, there weren't enough pieces from each group. I was hoping for more on the special features. In I"LL Sing For You, the extras were great. But, Festival is still a unique and extraordinary journey!"
Festival of the Desert 2006
Andy Hanson | Aspen, Colorado USA | 04/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Just returned, in January, from the latest edition of the Festival au Desert. The music was not as good as this album, but the experience of being at the most exotic music festival in the world certainly made up for it. The highlights, this year, were Habib Koite, an Irish traditonal band and the many lesser known Taureg bands that played throughout the three days. But I was introduced, via tape, to Tinariwen and I had gone hoping to catch Ali Farka Toure at the festival. Listening to this album has really taken me back to Essakane and the Sahara. It is truely a jewel of a cd, capturing some great perfomances by Lo Jo, Robert Plant, Tinariwen, Ali Farka Toure, and a Native American band called Blackfire. Great recording made out in the desert and a true treasure of Malian, Saharan, and other world music. I count it as a top five pick of recent African music.

Andy Hanson"