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Some recent photos from Mali

I recently wrote a post on How to Draw Camels about what I’ve been up to in Bamako over the past month. You can check it out here. I haven’t had time to write the final chapter in my Yopougon Toits Rouges saga (see part 1 and part 2), so in lieu of another 1,000+ word post, I will share some photos I’ve taken over the past month.


I was with my girlfriend’s family in the village of Fana for Easter. This is her younger brother with his friends. They are at that stage of life where their priorities are chasing girls and listening to Iba One.




Sharing pictures on cell phones.


Bintou’s family is Dogon and Christian. They raise pigs and brew millet beer.


A friend of Bintou’s getting after a brochette.


Gatekeeper of the pigs.


Me (after a large quantity of millet beer) and Bintou’s mom (who looks like her older sister) with her Christ has risen pagne. Sweetest lady you’ll ever meet.


Those stackable bowls are important assets in West Africa.


From a night of Tuareg and Sonrai music at the Sleeping Camel. This is a picture of Amanar on the grassy makeshift stage that turned out to be perfect. Other artists included Afel Bocoum, Vieux Farka Toure, Mangala Camara’s former kora player, and an up and coming Sonrai band that may or may not have a name. It was a great night of music.


One half of Amanar’s Bamako incarnation (the band’s members have been refugees for over a year and not all of them are in the same place).


I mentioned this dance troupe in the post on how to draw camels. This was from a day of filming in Nafaji, a neighborhood on the edges of Bamako, near the hills and the villages that will eventually merge with the sprawling city.


The dance project involved SOTRAMAs and that’s about all I will say about it for now (video to come).


The suspense…




Ten minutes after the troupe started dancing, this crowd had assembled on the other side of the unpaved road.

I’m flying to Lisbon tomorrow for a few days to eat Cape Verdean food and drink cherry brandy. Then it’s a tour of the USA, mainly the east coast for friends, Ohio for family, before coming back to West Africa. Let me know where we’re going to meet up if you are in any of those places.

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{ 11 comments… add one }

  • Andi of My Beautiful Adventures April 4, 2013, 10:04 am

    These photos are just amazing! I’m DYING to visit Mali!!!

  • Kay Johnson April 4, 2013, 2:19 pm

    Don’t forget the Fiesta del Vino in Polopos – on the 14th !

    • phil April 12, 2013, 8:11 am

      Think I missed it, Kay!!!

      • Kay Johnson April 12, 2013, 12:59 pm

        No you haven’t ! It’s on Sunday. Lili says Clive doesn’t HAVE to come too – she’d be happy 2 c u anyway !

  • ces April 5, 2013, 8:46 pm

    Seems like they are naturally-happy people. Good for you for having the opportunity to visit the place.

  • Casey April 9, 2013, 5:34 pm

    These photos are so, SO gorgeous! It looks like you got to meet so many amazing people — I’m definitely jealous of you!

  • Ekua April 11, 2013, 7:35 pm

    Seriously, Phil – this just made my day. I can’t say enough how much I enjoy the way you get inside various West African cultures and share them with us through your pictures and words.

    • phil April 12, 2013, 8:12 am

      Thank you, Ekua!! So glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

  • Kay Johnson July 15, 2013, 6:21 am

    Great pics. again Phil ! Next Polopos Fiesta is on the 9, 10 & 11 August. Expect you´ll be back in Africa by then – but come if u can !

    More luv from Lili to Clive ! XX

    • phil July 15, 2013, 6:24 pm

      I would love to go, but I’m already in Africa and I don’t know when I’m leaving again!!!!!

  • Kay Johnson July 16, 2013, 2:25 am

    Dear, oh dear ! There isn´t another one until October . . . . . . ! Never mind ! Lili says ´Luv to Clive !`

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