Festival au Désert 2023


JUNE 28-29-30, 2023
PARC / Piazzale delle Cascine, Florence

The Festival au Désert Firenze was born in 2010 from the collaboration between the Festival au Désert of Mali and the Fondazione Fabbrica Europa, and works to host the great names of world music and make known the best of current music, in particular from Sahel, North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, in an open dialogue with the ambassadors of international artistic “nomadism”.

The Festival au Désert  – a project supported by Estate Fiorentina / Comune di Firenze, Regione Toscana and Fondazione CR Firenze – proposes at PARC / Piazzale delle Cascine a three-day event with international musicians such as the Iranian multi-instrumentalist and composer Reza Mirjalali, the Mosaïc group (Tunisia / Bulgaria / France / Portugal) directed by Fabrizio Cassol (Belgium), the Kader Tarhanine Group (Mali / Algeria) and Italian artists such as Simone Bottasso, great accordion virtuoso, the vocalist Elisabetta Maulo as well as musicians who work on the relationship between African sounds and current music, from jazz to electronics: Roberto Luti, Dimitri Grechi Espinoza, Simone Padovani, Andrea Beninati and Gabrio Baldacci.


PARC · Piazzale delle Cascine · Florence
> free admission
h 19.30 “Viaggio in Mali” (Travel to Mali), encounter with VALERIO CORZANI, Rai Radio 3 journalist and photographer
h 21:00 ALIEU SAHO (Gambia) kora, ELISABETTA MAULO vocals, ROBERTO LUTI guitar, SIMONE PADOVANI percussion
followed by REZA MIRJALALI (Iran) tar and vocals, SIMONE BOTTASSO, accordion

PARC · Piazzale delle Cascine · Florence
> free admission
h 21:00 DIMITRI GRECHI ESPINOZA saxophones, ANDREA BENINATI drums and cello, GABRIO BALDACCI guitar, KADER TARHANINE (Mali/Algeria) vocals and guitar
“Mali Blues”

PARC · Piazzale delle Cascine · Florence
> free admission
h 21:00 MOSAÏC: HAMDI JAMMOUSSI (Tunisia), GEORGI DOBREV (Bulgaria) kaval, NOÉ CLERC (France) accordion, ADÈLE VIRET (France) cello, ZÉ ALMEIDA (Portugal) double bass, DIOGO ALEXANDRE (Portugal) drums. Direction: FABRIZIO CASSOL (Belgium)
followed by KADER TARHANINE GROUP (Mali/Algeria): Kader Tarhanine guitar and vocals, Mahammed Zenani guitar and vocals Dramane Touré bass, Mohamed Alhousseini drums

Every evening
PARC · Sala Polivalente · Florence
> Tickets 5€, subject to availability
in collaboration with Toscana Produzione Musica


Alieu Saho, aka Kora Hero, comes from Gambia and plays kora, a string instrument from West Africa linked to the tradition of jaliya, the art of storytellers, griots, called in the Mandinka language “jali”. Alieu descends from an ancient jali family from Bafoulabe, Mali, that moved to Upper Gambia, to Dobokunda, near Bansang. This region is famous for the tradition of jaliya and kora. Alieu arrived in Italy in 2016, crossing the sea from Libya. In Italy he is developing various collaborations and artistic projects of both traditional and fusion music.

Reza Mirjalali started music at an early age. When he was 7, his father, Maestro Shahram Mirjalali, started teaching him Tombak (Persian Percussion) and Tar (Persian string instrument). Due to his astonishing talent, he managed to give concerts at the age of 14. When he was 17, he started touring with his father and collaborating with other musicians from another genres. His desire was to make a bridge between East and West Culture through music. For this reason, in 2013, he moved to the Netherlands to study World Music at conservatory. In 2017, he graduated from Codarts conservatory Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Currently, he is working on his album and giving workshops and lessons.

The new pearl of modern Tuareg music, Kader Tarhanine is the artist most listened to by young people across the Sahara. He embodies novelty, youthfulness, and natural talent. He was introduced to the general public in 2012 via social media with the song “Tarhanine Tegla” or “My love has gone.” Born in Niger to Malian parents from Menaka and Timbuktu, he grew up in Tamanrasset (Southern Algeria). Naturally, his band is also cross-cultural, with musicians from Algeria and Mali. As such, he is inspired by the rich repertoire of this Sahelo-Saharan region and lives between the two countries. Blending traditional rhythms with rock tonalities and lyrics inspired by Sahelian and Arabic poetry, Kader’s music is sung by Tuaregs all around the world. His stage and studio collaborations with some of Mali’s biggest artists, including Fatoumata Diawara and Sidiki Diabaté, have made him an ambassador for peace (through music) between northern and southern Mali, tormented by political and ethnic strife for long time.

Mosaïc is an ensemble of 6 musicians from Bulgaria, France, Portugal and Tunisia. Their compositions are above all, spaces of musical encounters, at the crossroads of jazz and Mediterranean music. The sextet traces the contours of the Mediterranean with extended borders including Portugal and Bulgaria in its lines, connections between two extremes of the continent. The language is varied, associating to the Balkan ornaments the chamber color of a European music and the rhythmic essence of the music of North Africa. The collective and oral composition finds its subtlety in the detail of each voice, making the oral creation a new space for orchestration. If the music becomes more precise as the residencies progress, carrying the inspiration of the different places of travel and encounters, it remains a space of invitation and exchange where it is a pleasure to welcome other musicians from the Mediterranean for a concert. The adventure begins in 2020 in Malta during the intercultural creation session organized by the Medinea network under the artistic direction of Fabrizio Cassol (saxophonist and composer). The quartet formed by Adèle Viret, Noé Clerc (France), Diogo Alexandre and Zé Almeida (Portugal) carries the beginnings of the identity of Mosaïc music. In 2021, they meet in Lisbon and Marseille, joined by the Bulgarian kaval player Georgi Dobrev whose Balkan inspirations bring a new sound to the group. In September 2022, they are invited to the International Cultural Center of Hammamet (Tunisia) for a new residency with the Tunisian percussionist Hamdi Jamoussi who joins the creation of new compositions. It is on this occasion that their Zirst two concerts take place at the CCIH and at the Palais du Baron d’Erlanger (Tunis) inviting also the nay player Ahmed Litaiem to join them on stage for a piece.


[ph Antonio Viscido]

Festival au Désert is supported by

Thanks to Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Italia, MAD Murate Art District, Parc Bistrò

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