Amkoullel, a 33-year-old Malian rapper, sings about self-image, immigration and respect. He’s among a new generation of young rappers in Mali, mixing traditional instruments with new themes. He has played all over the world, performing with Malian legends Salif Keita, Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate.
Even before Mali’s political upheavals in 2012, he had attracted the attention of the government.
He created an association called Plus Jamais Ça — “never again” — and released the song “SOS.” It was a cry for help to the government, or anyone, to stop what was happening in the turbulent north of his country, where radical Islamists took control last year and banned all music except Quranic verses.
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