The New York Times brings us another world music-related feature with its Mali: Festival Au Desert slideshow. There's no narration in the slideshow (but some good riffs), but further information is available in the accompanying article authored by photographer Kevin Moloney.
The first festival was started in January 2001, and is held every year in Essakane, two hours from Timbuktu in Mali. This year, the festival was held on the 10th, 11th and 12th of January. The festival has its origin in the large traditional Tuareg festivities, such as Takoubelt in Kidal and Temakannit in Timbuktu. These festivities were used as gathering points for the exchange of information among different communities. Originally, there were songs and Tuareg dances, poetry, camel rides, games, etc.
The 2009 Festival au Desert will be held 8-9 and 10 January.