Music sharing Mali style

Musicologist Chris Kirkley (website) explains the workings of Mali’s music sharing culture. With everyone’s phone blaring out music from their tiny speakers it’s not uncommon for people to just walk up to one another and ask for the phone’s owner to share a track. It’s through this exchange that a unique network of music is spreading across West Africa.

This clip is an extract from Digital Human, broadcast on Radio 4.

In the first in the series Aleks looks at how different cultures are preserving their identity in the face of the homogenising effects of technology.

There’s a fear that the digital world will make us all the same. But that doesn’t seem that well founded if you look at how widely differing cultures are using technology to express their identity and values. We look at the music sharing culture of Mali in West Africa as explored by musicologist Chris Kirkley and hear from the vibrant and intoxicating atmosphere of the mobile phone music market in Mali’s capital Bamako. Back in the UK we look at the interesting way immigrant communities maintain their cultural ties through technology and the unexpected effect this has on the growth of immigrant communities.


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