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10th Nomad Festival

music festival, montreal festival, mauritania festival, nomad culture, African nomad culture, gnawa music, world festival, world music festival

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Relive the 2009 Nomad festival (report by Al Jazeera, dubbed in French):


From the beginning, humans have been nomadic. Then they have become sedentary. Founded by Atigh in 2009, the Nomad festival finds inspiration in nomadic life and a in sense of sharing.

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It's really something!

People from all origins! ICI Radio-Canada Première

To forget the winter and its worries! Le Journal de Montréal

Diversify, warmth, it makes you feel good! Le Montréal africain

Everyone together, you have to live it and feel it. CISM

Not to be miss ! Touki Montréal

The team

Founder : Atigh ( / Coordinator : Sébastien Nègre ( / Thanks to all the volunteers in Montreal and Mauritania ...

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With so many artists, Peul, Inuit, Mandingo, Andalusian, to Persian, the great nomadic festival was a blast. On the persian rugs of the MAI concert hall, Nina Segalowitz, Nathalie Cora, Amir Amiri, Aurélie Brunelle, Ilam, the Sultans of percussion (Tacfarinas and Kattam), Nomad Stones, Gotta Lago and many other guest artists ignite the “Blue Night”. All the various instruments, the cultures, and the rhythms mixed together setting the mood and stage for a great night of dancing and singing.

Rich in emotion, the dinner show, at the Dépanneur Café, paid tribute to "Refugees - forced nomads". We still remember the poignant and poetic texts of Yves Alavo and Catherine Ego, the testimony from Eva, who recently returned from Greece and Turkey, and the warmth of the Nomad'Stones music that interplayed throughout the evening and closed the night with everyone clapping.

The “Cinema under the Tent” screened four films on nomadism in Quebec. Giving us the opportunity to re/discover the way of life of the Inuit, the Innu, and other nomads with Les Montagnais and The last of the Runners of the Woods by Jean-Claude Labrecque, The Travelers by Bernard Gosselin and Standing on their Land by Mauritius Bulbulian. This curated selection was proposed by Labdoc and Cinema from UQAM Masters in Communication students Alexis Lemieux and Laurence Ly.

For two days, the nomadic souk market attracted Montreal artisans with their nomadic creations: Rodrigo Zúñiga, Foehn Kids, Dado Cosmetics, Betino Assa, Vincent Dhavernas, Ariann Langlois, Lorena Tolosa, Say Codelik, Alev (by Hatice), Café dépanneur, Isabelle Francoeur, Sarrah C, Nathalie Lafleur, and The fingers of the Fairy. The nomadic souk was bustling with activities; visitors enjoyed a comforting Sunday brunch accompanied with fabulous flamenco by musicians Alvaro Echanove and Henry Garf. From music, painting, and gastronomy, the Nomadic Generation festival, at the core celebrates the love of sharing.

The festival highlights and showcases numerous local and global artists. During the 8th festival edition, Stan showcased his magnificent watercolor paintings. The bards, poets, Marie, Martin, Stephen and Mazen livened up a musical evening full of surprises. As always, every evening, Atigh received all who entered under the La Khaima tent with his infectious smile and richly flavored dishes to share.

Lastly, a dinner conversation on sustainable mobility asked us, what is true international co-operation? … It is when everyone participates and is engaged in the conversation which leads to effective solutions. Around the wonderful meal, everyone shares in dialogue. Our partner, Engineers Without Borders Québec, and the La Khaïma Foundation (with Hugo Del Fa) showcase concrete examples to advance ideas and projects.



Who could forget such a great edition of the Nomad Festival?

The magnificent Boucar Diouf was present, along with the Couscous Comedy Show, always at its best with Uncle Fofi and his group. Nomadic brunches accompanied a number of get-togethers centred on food sovereignty, health and nomadic cuisine in Mauritania, sustainable mobility, nomadic games, ancestral knowledge and the thorny question of mines and their relationship with nomads.

Under the bright stars, where the khaïma (the nomadic tent) is pitched, it’s time to listen to poets and slammer like Mél Bué, Charlinio, AbdelSlam, David and Mohamed. Cinema Under the Tent was also back with projections of rare films, which made the audience contemplate journeys, both physical and spiritual.

In an atmosphere that was rich in flavour, the dinner show invited the audience to travel through the delights of life through the tunes of guitarists and spoken-word artists from Paroles Égales, friends of the festival who’ve been there from the beginning: Catherine Ego and Arturo Parra.

Finally, this edition of the Nomad Festival closed with the unforgettable Nuit bleue (Blue Night). During this musical evening filled with warmth, Daby Touré made us dance with Afro-pop, Tamar Ilana bewitched us with her flamenco, Stephen Fuller enchanted us with his kora, and Amlil Gnawa brought us to Essaouira in Morocco, the birthplace of traditional gnawa music. Furthermore, the Senegalese singers Ilam and Nedjim Bouizzoul of the group Labess joined us on stage, enhancing the warm atmosphere and making us want to travel even more!



This was a small-scale, intimate edition. It brought together musicians, music lovers and cinema buffs. The tent welcomed us once more, and that is where we met.



The Festival was a big hit, with two evenings featuring free dinners! La Khaïma Restaurant opened its doors to everyone who wanted to taste Mauritanian cuisine.

On the artistic side, Nomadic Cinema, the big gathering of fans of nomadic film, presented a line-up prepared with care by the cinema Master’s programme and Images en mouvement (Images in Motion) from UQAM.

In particular, “La nuit nomade” (Nomadic Night) by Marianne Chaud and “Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life” by Merian C. Cooper, Marguerite Harrison and Ernest B. Schoedsack were shown.

Festival goers also celebrated nomadic cultures during a dinner performance called “Paroles nomades” (Nomadic words), which allowed them to discover the artists Arturo Parra, Catherine Ego and Alessandro Barrico.

And we cannot forget the return of the famous Couscous Comedy Nomadic Show! Uncle Fofi and many other comedians brought people together through laughter without borders. The group Ouled L’Bled came directly from Mauritania to perform for the audience here.

In traditional nomadic spirit, Sufi meditation, flamenco, blues, jazz.... The big closing concert brought a musical evening with a fusion of genres thanks to Patricia Perez, Kattam, the Afrikan Blues Project, Issawa and other performers.



Gatherings, music, films, sharing.... We had all the ingredients! The Couscous Comedy Show entertained the festival goers, numerous musical performances, and the Cinema Under the Tent brought together film lovers.

Another session that stayed with us: a round-table discussion on food sovereignty organized by the Department of Anthropology at McGill University.



This year, the Nomad Festival paid tribute to a very renowned nomadic culture festival: the Desert Festival of Timbuktu. Timbuktu was suffering under jihadist occupation, and the Nomad Festival in Montreal stood in solidarity with our brothers and sisters there.

In Montreal, festival goers celebrated life during a colourful musical evening with Aboulaye Koné Bolo Kan, Gotta Lago, Kullak Viger-Rojas, Soley Rara, Amrita Choudhury and Kattam Tam, among other guests.

Additionally, there were introductory workshops on meditation, art openings, a conference on nomads, a flamenco brunch and a Bedouin brunch, and festival goers were also entertained with couscous and humour during the Couscous Comedy Nomadic Show, where Uncle Fofi and his group kept the good times rolling.

One must not forget the Nomadic Cinema, a day which brought together film lovers to view works which narrated the lives of nomads.

The Festival also supported the Caravan of Artists for Peace and Unity and the Al Hawa Association of Mauritania, which welcomes caravan participants from different parts of the world. We would like to thank Brahim Cheik Ahmed, the president of the Association, who ensures that the festival can continue to be held in the Mauritanian Sahara.



The Nomad Festival brought together large numbers of nomads and “nomad lovers”, both in Montreal and in Mauritania.

In Mauritania, numerous events were held. A big camel race was organised for women, and another one for men. Many other activities were organized for and with the participation of women.

The celebrated Mauritanian performer, Malouma, also known for her political struggles, did us the honour of singing under the tent.

With his friends Adam Shamash, Stephen Fuller and Julie Strand Offerdal, Atigh, the organizer of the Nomad Festival, travelled the desert in an old Land Rover G849. He wanted to recreate the spirit of adventure which one finds in classic American films. The participants also experienced nomadic life in a caravan for several weeks. They learned to climb up onto the back of a camel and cross the desert in search of pastures for their animals.

The Nomad Festival ended with an incredibly exciting camel race, for which nomads gathered from all across Mauritania!

The same year in Montreal, the Nomad Festival once again pitched its khaïma (tent). The public was invited to talks on nomadism, to exhibitions and musical performances, to dance and spoken-word events. Based on the success of previous Montreal editions and on the reputation it had earned with Quebec and Canadian audiences, this year’s Festival offered an even richer lineup. This allowed us to inform the ever-growing audience of issues faced by nomads and to the cultures of Mauritania.



Just imagine! A khaïma (tent) has been pitched in the middle of the city! University students and artists gathered to celebrate nomadism through panel discussions, bazaars, musical evenings, dances, stories, spoken word, and musical improvisation....

As always, the Nomad Festival joyfully continued the nomadic tradition of hospitality. Every evening, participants and the public gathered for a big group dinner which highlighted Mauritanian specialties.

Among other important moments, Nomade Nation invited artists to think about nomadic life and express themselves on this theme, which was an interesting intellectual and artistic process.

Festival goers were also able to visit a souk launched for the occasion. It was a place of exchanges in every sense of the word.



Do you know the word “ravga”? “Ravga” means a salt caravan. It’s the beginning of a great adventure.

The Nomad Festival once again set up its khaïma (tent) in Mauritania. A ravga took the participants on camelback from the village of Ividjaren to the “sebkhas”, the salt basins of Inchiri. The participants proceeded to exchange products like Quebec maple syrup for salt offered by the inhabitants of Ividjaren.

This epic journey ended in the capital, at the Institut Français de Nouakchott (French Institute of Nouakchott), with dances and an exhibition to welcome the caravan, a tasting of traditional dishes from Quebec, an afternoon of story-telling, and camel tours.

Catherine Ego, Sylvie Poulin, Yannick Labine and Danielle Dumont were present.

The year 2010 was decidedly an exceptional year because, for the first time, in its history, the Nomad Festival planted its khaïma in Montreal.

On the menu, during this grand premiere, was film screenings, concerts, evenings of meditation, gastronomy, open-air stories and debates in collaboration with the Department of Anthropology of McGill University.

The griot (traditional musician/storyteller) Jemal Ould Abba, who came from Mauritania specifically for the Festival, enchanted the audience with his songs evoking desert life.

Active on the social front, the Festival dedicated a day to nomadic women and another day to refugees and migrants.



Since its first edition, la joie de vivre is the heart and soul of the Nomad Festival. Together, we found the strength to unite our spirits.

In Mauritania, an exceptional nomadic gathering took place. Nomads flowed in from the four corners of the country to celebrate the dynamism of their culture: traditional games, music, dance competitions, percussion.... There was even a competition to choose the most beautiful tent!

The great Mauritanian singer Malouma, well-known for her political activism, honoured us by singing under the tent.

We also organized a camel race, which brought together hundreds of participants! It was unforgettable!

This event, whose reach exceeded all our expectations, was organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce, Crafts and Tourism and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of Mauritania, the Mayoralty of Tingadesh, as well as elected representatives and members of communities from the Trarza Region.

All the Mauritanian media, as well as several international media outlets covered us: Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, RFI, TV5, Africa noº 1, Radio nationale (Mauritania) and the local press.