Khaira Arby hails from a village in the Sahara desert, north of Timbuktu. She won her first singing contest while still a schoolgirl, and at age 22 made a recording with the Orchestre Régional de Tombouctou. She gained experience performing alongside her cousin and mentor, Ali Farké Touré. Her forceful blues wail reflects the Songhai and Berber influences of her upbringing, while her band blends traditional Malian rhythms with funk, reggae and psychedelia. She sings in the Songhai, Arabic and Tamashek languages about cattle herders threatened by crocodiles, the struggles of her desert people, and Malian independence. In 2006, she was named Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mali. Her fourth album, Timbuktu Tarab, was released in 2010.