The new Acoustic Bamako festival (Festival Acoustik) which featured Damon Albarn, Tony Allen and Songhoy Blues in the last weekend of january 2016 - the first to be held in Mali’s capital since the terrorist attack of 20 November – is to become an annual event according to Malian musician Toumani Diabaté who organised the event. Diabate says he plans to turn the festival into an annual event despite the fact the West African country has been under a nationwide state of emergency since al-Qaeda-linked jihadists killed 20 people in an attack on the Radisson Blue Hotel in Bamako. "It’s very important for me, for us, to get Malian culture going,” Diabaté told AFP. “You see, Mali is the heart of culture in Africa.”
Northern Mali (Azawad) came under the control of Islamist groups in 2012, which implemented sharia law, banning music and closing bars, music venues, nightclubs and radio and television stations. The famous Festival in the Desert (Festival au Désert) has been on hiatus since 2012. Military invention from France largely ousted the Islamists in January 2013, although a low-level insurgency continues.