Islamic extremists controlling northern Mali have imposed sharia law on the tolerant Muslim community, curtailing their previous lifestyle which celebrated culture and music, and silencing their voices.
The voice of celebrated Malian singer Khaïra Arby, known as the "Nightingale of the North," has been silenced in her home town of Timbuktu since northern Mali was overrun with Islamic extremists.
The Washington Post reported extremists broke into Arby's home and destroyed her instruments, claiming her voice was a threat to Islam. She said "They told my neighbors that if they ever caught me, they would cut my tongue out.”
Speaking to the Independent earlier this year Arby said: "I've lost a lot of things. My heart is broken."
Khaïra Arby is just one of many Malian musicians now exiled from their homes, heading to southern Mali or foreign countries. Aminata Wassidie Traore, a musician who fled her home near Timbukutu said: “The Islamists do not want anyone to sing anymore.”
Mali's famous Festival in the Desert which attracts people from all over the world to Timbuktu, was cancelled this year.