Certainly the most exotic music festival in the world, Festival in the Desert takes place every January in the Sahara Desert in northeastern Mali, beyond Timbuktu.

Certainly the most exotic music festival in the world, Festival in the Desert takes place every January in the Sahara Desert in northeastern Mali, beyond Timbuktu. It takes more effort than most people are willing to expend to get to this remote festival, but, fortunately, this CD offers a generous taste of the desert magic wrought at this year's festival. Fabled Malian guitarist Ali Farka Touré and his group deliver a mesmerizing version of "Karaw." Robert Plant and Justin Adams work a stirring rendition of "Win My Train Fare Home." Tamashek group Tinariwen clearly puts a buzz in the crowd with "Aldachan Manin," while another Tamashek group, Tartit, delivers a literally entrancing performance on "Tihar Bayatin." Other fine moments come courtesy of the French group Lo'Jo, Malian superstar Oumou Sangare, Afel Bocoum and Blackfire, a Navajo group from Arizona. Racked in the U.S. by Harmonia Mundi.—PVV