In Bambara, we call them nomads

Ever since i saw the trailer for Timbuktu, 

, i have been on a bit of an obsession with Fatoumata Diawara and her music, and if you think her soundtrack to ‘Timbuktu” was great, this song here goes beyond

I do not understand the language for most of her songs, but the beat is just amazing and i came across this particular one ‘Clandestine”. The only other song i know with that title is Manu Chao’s clandestino; sung in Spanish the song deals with the issue of immigration: “I wrote it about the border between Europe and those coming from poorer nations. Look around — maybe 30% of the people in this street are clandestino [illegal].”

Fatoumata’s Clandestin in her own words is…

They wanted to travel as everyone does. They wanted to cross the ocean. They were told they didn’t have the right. Couldn’t their leaders do something to encourage them to stay home and build a better life together? This gave them even more desire to travel: the more you are refused, the greater the desire! People told them “No!” After ten years of refusal to their visa applications they decide to leave on foot! The journey takes a day, a year, two years, five years, ten years. Many perish, they die en route and no one knows any more of them. They are called “illegals”, but I call them warriors as it’s not easy to leave everything behind and to trust in the unknown. In Bambara, we call them nomads. Travelling has really become part of our culture, which is why I call them by their real names. This song is dedicated to all the brothers who die on this trip and to those who have already left! Their parents cry for them every day!

Un jour ils ont voulu voyager comme tout le monde. Un jour ils ont décidé de traverser l’océan. On leur a dit qu’ils n’avaient pas le droit. Leurs dirigeants ne peuvent-ils rien faire pour les encourager à rester pour construire ensemble une vie meilleure ?
Cela leur a donné encore plus envie de voyager: plus on te refuse, plus l’envie est grande! On leur dit « Non! » Après 10 ans de refus à leurs demandes de visa ils décident de partir à pied ! Le voyage dure un jour, un an, deux ans, cinq ans, dix ans…beaucoup périssent, meurent sur la route et personne n’en sait plus. Ils sont appelés «Clandestins», mais moi je les appelle guerriers car il n’est pas facile de tout laisser derrière soit et de se confier à l’inconnu. En Bambara, nous les appelons les nomades. Partir est une vraie culture chez nous, c’est pourquoi je les appelle par leurs vrais noms. Cette chanson est dédiée à tous les frères qui sont morts pendant ce voyage et à ceux qui sont déjà en route ! Les parents les pleurent chaque jour !

For all the nomads out there, here is to you and your journey

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