From Ali Farka Toure to Rokia Traore, Mali is home to one of Africa's most diverse and thriving music scenes. Musicians are highly prized in Mali; in the griot tradition, they are both historians and political advisors, and they can wield considerable influence. Mali's rich sounds are no doubt due to its ethnic mix: Mande, Bamana and Fula people share much of the country, while the Tuareg populate the desert regions ÃÂ and they all make music! While many musicians currently play standard rock instruments, Mali's traditional music is best known for its use of the kora, a 20+-stringed instrument that lies somewhere between a harp and a lute. Besides its prominence in world music, Mali is also the origin of much American music; the American blues (and therefore rock 'n' roll) flows directly from the singer-songwriter tradition of this country.