After an almost 5 hour-long bus ride through the impressive landscape we reached hotel Savanne in Ségou and after a lunch, where Mohamed Doumbia from the Festival sur le Niger introduced us to the activities of the festival including the impact the more than 25000 visitors have had and have on the local area.
A short drive took us to Centre Culturel Kôré where we were welcomed and with great enthusiasm informed about the ideas and activities of the center, a building complex referring to traditional customs but raised in modern materials.
The center consists of three different parts – a museum displaying traditional instruments and through the adjoining texts and photo also connects to present artists. Through their program the center wants to educate and encourage young people to practice the music and the instruments, on the same time preserving the historical traditions and integrating them in the modern life.
The second part is a large space for exhibitions and for performances and the third part a professional sound studio. The center was supported by the Dutch Doen foundation and was raised from the ground in only 6 months.
What was particular interesting was that the center aimed to raise money to the running costs through work within so different fields as agriculture and cattle farming next to more natural fields as the engagement in the growing interests within sustainable producing and dyeing cotton – which is one of the most important crops in the Mali economy. And also that the model for doing this was to organize the work through modelling the ancient structures from the African family.
There is still much work to be done at the center. The building of the administrative center is still in progress and the activities seems to attract a rather small number of participants with the exception of the sound studio that enables groups from outside the community to come and produce their own music.
After leaving the center we went to the administration center of the Festival du Niger and was informed on the ongoing plans of developing the festival and the areas around, including a new main scene. And from there continuing to the large area next to the Niger where the main activities of the festival takes place.
It was surprising to see how the festival had generated a heavily touristic market and even outside the festival period the place is obvious visited by a large number of tourists. In the area we also visited the Hall des Arts Kore showing an international exhibition based on a workshop that had been organized by the Conservatoire in Bamako.
The evening was spent together with Chab Touré from the gallery Carpe Diem at a local restaurant.