A military coup deposed Mali’s President Touré in March 2012. The Tuareg separatist movement (MNLA) exploited the unstable situation and declared the independent state of Azawad in the north. They were immediately pushed out by Islamists (former allies), who forcibly imposed Sharia law. In addition, a ban was placed on all music, which is the most natural form of expression of the local peoples. Radio stations were silenced; various concert venues and the streets were quiet. Persecuted artists went into exile in the south, where they continued their activities. After the French air force drove the Islamists out in January 2013, the musicians organised a risky concert in Timbuktu. Their songs bring hope. They would have to be killed to be silenced.