Malian musical traditions are derived from the griots, who are known as "Keepers of Memories". Malian music is diverse and has several different genres. Some famous Malian influences in music are kora virtuoso musician Toumani Diabaté, the late roots and blues guitarist Ali Farka Touré, the Tuareg band Tinariwen, and several Afro-pop artists such as Salif Keita, the duo Amadou et Mariam, Oumou Sangare, and Habib Koité. Dance also plays a large role in Malian culture. Dance parties are common events among friends, and traditional mask dances are performed at ceremonial events.
Though Mali's literature is less famous than its music, Mali has always been one of Africa's liveliest intellectual centers. Mali's literary tradition is passed mainly by word of mouth, with jalis reciting or singing histories and stories known by heart. Amadou Hampâté Bâ, Mali's best-known historian, spent much of his life writing these oral traditions down for the world to remember.
The best-known novel by a Malian writer is Yambo Ouologuem's Le devoir de violence, which won the 1968 Prix Renaudot but whose legacy was marred by accusations of plagiarism. Other well-known Malian writers include Baba Traoré, Modibo Sounkalo Keita, Massa Makan Diabaté, Moussa Konaté, and Fily Dabo Sissoko.
The most popular sport in Mali is football (soccer), which became more prominent after Mali hosted the 2002 African Cup of Nations. Most towns and cities have regular games; the most popular teams nationally are Djoliba AC, Stade Malien, and Real Bamako, all based in the capital. Informal games are often played by youths using a bundle of rags as a ball.
Basketball is another major sport;the Mali women's national basketball team, led by Hamchetou Maiga, competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Traditional wrestling (la lutte) is also somewhat common, though popularity has declined in recent years. The game wari, a mancala variant, is a common pastime.
Rice and millet are the staples of Malian cuisine, which is heavily based on cereal grains.Grains are generally prepared with sauces made from edible leaves, such as spinach or baobab, with tomato peanut sauce, and may be accompanied by pieces of grilled meat (typically chicken, mutton, beef, or goat). Malian cuisine varies regionally.Other popular dishes include fufu, jollof rice, and maafe.
In Mali, there are several newspapers such as Les Echos, L'Essor, Info Matin, Nouvel Horizon, and Le Républicain. The Telecommunications in Mali include 869,600 mobile phones, 45,000 televisions and 414,985 internet users.