The Festival of the Desert just wrapped up in Mali this past weekend.
The Malian band Tinariwen performed, but this year's festival was in need of companions and friends.
This was the 11th edition of the festival and almost did not happen.
The US State Department and other foreign ministries in Western Europe advised against traveling to the north of Mali where the festival takes place.
The agencies were worried about a spate of kidnappings of western tourists and aid workers by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
Military aircraft patrolled the skied this weekend over the concert venue near the historic city of Timbuktu.
Only about 300 fans showed up for this year's festival, almost half of last year's attendance.
For die-hard fans and musicians however, the festival is not about numbers.
It is about being in a place known for end-of-world remoteness and stark beauty.
And out of that, creating for a few days, a sense of community with people from all over the world.
Indian-Canadian singer Kiran Ahluwalia is one them. She performed this weekend, for the first time at the Festival in the Desert.
On her most recent album "Aam Zameen," Ahluwalia created that global sense of community.
She covered one of the big hits by legendary Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; one of them a song called "Mustt Mustt," which she performed with Tinariwen at the festival.