Mali's rich traditional music culture is well-known around the world. But when the country's government collapsed earlier this decade, it was Mali's hip hop scene that was the loudest and most relevant voice. At a moment when music's political value seems like a thing of the past, hip hop in Mali is at the center of a discussion about democracy, globalisation and tradition.
When I met Malian rapper Mylmo I knew nothing about him except that he was performing on the main stage of the Festival on the Niger that very night. I interviewed him in an empty restaurant on the banks of the great river. Most of its patrons were soaking up the midday sun on the terrace outside. Only after we'd finished did I realise the extent to which this polite respectful young man was revered by the youth of his country.