Doster & Engle Visit Mauritania as Arts Envoys

Greg Engle/ August 27, 2016/ Uncategorized

Doster & Engle — Mauritania 2015

English Class 2 editGreg Engle and Stephen Doster performed, played of music with many fantastic local musicians and had a great time talking to high school students about songwriting during their July 2016 trip to Mauritania.  The trip, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Arts Envoy Program and organized by the U.S. Embassy in Nouakchott, afforded yet another opportunity to reach across national borders to connect with people through music.

Mauritania, at the edge of the Sahara, is steeped in Sahelian musical traditions.  The musicians Doster & Engle had the pleasure to play with each had his or her own way to weave together rich Sahelian, African and Arabic styles with more modern genres.  The Sahelian roots of the blues were striking.  The music was beautiful.

Two events were standouts.  One was the Embassy’s Independence Day reception at which Doster & Engle played with Mauritanian songwriter and musician Cheikh Lebiad, who spontaneously made up and sang verses to “This Land Is Your Land” in Hassaniya — music diplomacy at its finest.

Equally inspiring was an evening with Malouma, one of Mauritania’s best known and beloved musicians, who also happens to be a member of the the country’s Senate.  It was an honor and a thrill to play for and then with Malouma and her band.

Click arrows in the gallery pane to view the slideshow.

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About Greg Engle

Austin singer-songwriter Greg Engle, a career diplomat, has led a life of constant travel. He’s witnessed attempted coups, had lunch with Nelson Mandela, and seen two African dictators fall. Four songs on his debut album (2010), "Take It Personally," provide colorful accounts of his many years in Africa. He is a founding member of the East Coast-based Duke Street Liberation Army Band, which released its debut album, "Arsenal of Love," in 2014. Engle won first prize in the 2011 Woody Guthrie Folk Festival Songwriting Competition. His songs have played on radio programs around the U.S. Engle and veteran Austin musician and producer Stephen Doster have performed and conducted songwriting workshops in Swaziland (2012) and Lesotho (2015) as part of the U.S. State Department's Arts Envoy program.