Press Release – New Zealand International Arts Festival
Two members of the six-piece Grammy award-winning band Tinariwen are unable to perform at the 2012 New Zealand International Arts Festival due to a dramatic escalation in the conflict in the region of north Mali where they live.
“The band’s tour has been confirmed for many months, but this is a situation beyond everyone’s control,’’ says Festival Executive Director Sue Paterson. The two musicians who cannot come on tour are one of the band’s founders, Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, and vocalist and guitarist Elaga Al Hamid. Tinariwen’s management has confirmed that only four of the six musicians have been able to make it out of the troubled region to connect with flights.
The conflicts between the MLNA and the Malian Government army in the drought and famine-stricken region of north Mali, have already seen many people die and 130,000 refugees displaced since mid January. Tinariwen’s management have said that Ag Alhabib is sheltering in a refugee camp near the Algerian border and is unable to get out due to crossfire between the MLNA rebels and the Malian Army.
“Our concerns are for the safety of the band members at this time,”’ says Festival Executive Director Sue Paterson.
Tinariwen perform for one night only at the Wellington Town Hall on 13 March at 8pm.
For further information, go to festival.co.nz