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Blur’s Damon Albarn Named ‘Local King’ in Mali

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Damon Albarn is no longer merely ‘90s Britpop royalty; he’s now a veritable “local king” in Mali, too.

Albarn has collaborated with Malian musicians ever since recording his 2002 album Mali Music. He recently returned to play Toumani Diabaté’s three-day Festival Acoustik Bamako despite a state of emergency following a November terrorist attack. During that stay, BBC Radio 4 reports Albarn was named a “local king” for his contributions to Malian music. Likewise, a classroom in a music school in Kirina was named after the Blur and Gorillaz leader, and he was given a new Malian name, Makandjan Kamissoko.

“Music is a very powerful spirit, and that spirit abides here,” Albarn said of the newly named classroom. “I’m not used to this sort of thing, but it’s fantastic to see this classroom. And it’s a school dedicated to music and dance. That’s where my heart is, so my heart is here.”

You can watch the entire dedication in the video above and hear BBC Radio 4’s report below:

Next: Damon Albarn Is Working on New Good, the Bad & the Queen Album

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