“Soul of the Sahara” Raises $80,000 for Niger

The NH Seacoast Community Celebrates with Bombino in an Evening of Music and Hope

Music with a message of Peace

On April 5th, 300 people, along with the Ambassadors of Niger and Gabon, danced, clapped and cheered for Tuareg sensation Bombino at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH to support RAIN’s programs in Niger.

Ambassador Sidikou with Omara Moctar (Bombino)
Ambassador Sidikou with Omara Moctar (Bombino)

At a reception before the performance, Portsmouth Mayor Eric Spears was on hand to deliver to Bombino and the Ambassadors a special welcome and to proclaim April 5, 2012 as West Africa Day in Portsmouth, expressing pride in the city’s role in bringing new life to RAIN’s partner nomadic communities.

Mayor Spears presents proclamations with RAIN founder Bess Palmisciano
Mayor Spears presents proclamations with RAIN founder Bess Palmisciano

During the concert, Bombino sang songs about unity and reconciliation, of the beauty of the desert and of nomadic life. He spoke to the audience about the importance of education in his homeland, sharing his plans for an upcoming Peace Tour to promote Niger as a model of peace for the West African region. Click here to read a Q&A with Bombino about the Tuareg uprising.

Bombino onstage
Bombino onstage

Niger Ambassador, the Hon. Maman Sidikou, spoke of the resiliency and hope of his country. He expressed that despite recent unrest, Niger is a country of diverse people, unified in their identity as Nigeriens and in their shared goal of engagement with each other and their neighbors. He also expressed how inspired and moved he was by the huge show of support for his country demonstrated that evening by their New England friends.

New Friends, New Partners

Bombino & group with Ambassadors onstage
Bombino & group with Ambassadors onstage

The excitement and enthusiasm were palpable as the Portsmouth audience gave Bombino and his group multiple standing ovations. As for RAIN, we couldn’t have asked for a warmer reception and are excited to share our vision of a Niger where people with access to education, food and water have the freedom to choose to live in their tradition in safety and good health with a wider circle of friends.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without our sponsors and partners – including some new supporters – and we’d like to give our thanks to them for their belief in the dream of better lives for the rural nomadic people of Niger. Were you unable to attend but would still like to help RAIN reach our goal? Learn how!

We’d like to extend a special thanks to Bombino and his group for donating this special stop on their AGADEZ World Tour and to:

Soul of the Sahara Committee, The Music Hall, Cumbancha Records, Modiba Productions, Mayor Eric Spear, Ron Wyman, Sheryl Dufficy, Paula Loudenslager, Ann & Peter Tarlton, Julie Cook, Holly Hunter & Dan Gair, Jeanne Duval, Sheelagh Ryan, Nancy & David Borden, Street Food 360, Flatbread & Co., Shalimar Restaurant, Anneke Jans, Four Restaurant, Jumpin’ Jays, Radici Restaurant, The Alehouse Inn, Weathervane Restaurant, Philbrick’s Fresh Market, The Green Monkey and Seaport Fish.

Soul of the Sahara Sponsors

Saharan Stars
Tom Haas
Joanne Lamprey

Desert Galaxies
Samonas Realty

Lee & Tony Irons
Naomi & Jeff Vanderwolk
PAX World Fund
Catherine B. Pritchett
Lila Rice Marshall
Bess Palmisciano & John Ahlgren
Rainbow Productions/NEAT
Lelia & John Lamson

Super Novas
Liz & Rod Berens
Patience & Tom Chamberlin
Geoffrey Clark & Martha Fuller-Clark
Mary Ann & Timothy Driscoll
Susan & Charles Lassen
Clare O’Brien & Charlie Doane
Northeast Auctions
Janet Prince & Peter Bergh
Chelsey & David Remington
Harry Schult
Katie & Doug Wheeler
Rob Carrigg, Jr. – Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management

Star Catchers
Allegra of Portsmouth
Bergsten Music Inc.
Nancy & David Borden
Irene & John Bush
North Mills Realty Trust
The Sise Inn
Betsy & Frank Wilczek
Veris Wealth Partners
TradePort USA
Tod O’Dowd, Avery Insurance
Zenagui Brahim
The Community Church of Durham
Susan Hirshberg & John Wall

Star Gazers
Albert P. Stowe, CPA

Soul of the Sahara Committee: Sally Barber, Meg Cavanaugh, Monique Deforge, Rebecca Goldberg, Jane Hamor, Bonnie Hatch, Kathleen Hofer, Lelia Lamson, Susan Lassen, Linzee Mahar, Marcia Main, Nancy Pollard, Kathy Richards, Sheelagh Ryan, Harry Schult, Paula Taylor, Sam Valentine and Barbara Winter.